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H ARVARD U NIVERSITY

Solutions to Problems in
Modern Quantum Mechanics, 2nd edition
by J.J. Sakurai and Jim J. Napolitano

Peter Gyu Young Chang


Last Modified: June 25, 2016

C ONTENTS
1 Fundamental Concepts

Peter Gyu Young Chang

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

1 F UNDAMENTAL C ONCEPTS
1. First, note that [, ] and {, } refers to the commutator and anti-commutators of the operators, respectively.
Hence, using the property: [A, BC ] = B [A,C ] + [A, B ]C and [AB,C ] = A[B,C ] + [A,C ]B :
[AB,C D] = AC [B, D] + A[B,C ]D +C [A, D]B + [A,C ]DB
= AC (B D DB ) + A(BC C B )D +C (AD D A)B + (AC C A)DB
= AC (B D DB ) + A(C B + BC )D +C (AD D A)B + (C A + AC )DB
= AC {D, B } + A{C , B }D C {D, A}B + {C , A}DB
2.

a) The matrix X is represented in terms of the Pauli matrices and constants:


X = a 0~
I+

3
X

a i i

i =1

where ~
I is the identity matrix. Since t r (i ) = 0 for i = 1, 2, 3, we have:

0
= 2a 0
a0

a0
t r (X ) = t r
0
Also, we have:

t r (k X ) = t r a 0 k +

3
X

a x k x

x=1

3
X

= tr

a x i kx y y + kx I

x=1

= t r (a k I )
= 2a k
since a b = i abc c + ab I in general and t r (a x y ) = 0 for any x, y = 1, 2, 3.
b) We have the matrix elements:

a0 + a3
X=
a1 + i a2

a1 i a2
a0 a3

Hence we have:
1
a 0 = (X 11 + X 22 )
2
1
a 2 = (X 21 X 12 )
2i

1
a 1 = (X 12 + X 21 )
2
1
a 3 = (X 11 X 22)
2

Another way to see this is by noting that


1
a k = t r (k X )
2
3. The determinant of ~
~
a is:
d et (~
~
a ) = d et

a3
a1 + i a2

a1 i a2
a 3

= a 32 (a 1 i a 2 )(a 1 + i a 2 )
= a 12 a 22 a 32
= |~
a |2

Peter Gyu Young Chang

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

Then, Taylor expanding the exponentials, we have:


Without loss of generality, choose n = z.

X 1 i z k
i z
=
exp
2
2
k=0 k!
k
k1

k
X (1) 2
X (1) 2

=I
z
i
2
k!
2
k=even k!
k=od d

= I cos
i z sin
2
2

0
cos 2 i sin 2
=

0
cos 2 i sin 2
i
!
e 2
0
=
i
0
e 2

Therefore, the transformed matrix is:


i
e2
0
~
~
a =
0

0
i

e 2
a3 e

i
a1 i a2 e 2
a 3
0
i !
i
(a 1 i a 2 )e 2 e 2

a3
a1 + i a2

i
2
i

(a 1 + i a 2 )e 2

a 3 e 2

(a 1 i a 2 )e i
a 3

a3
=
(a 1 + i a 2 )e i

d et (~
~
a 0 ) = a 12 a 22 a 32 = |~
a |2
= d et (~
~
a)
Also, noting that:

a 30
0
a 1 + i a 20

a 10 i a 20
a 30

a3
(a 1 + i a 2 )e i

(a 1 i a 2 )e i
a 3

Therefore, we have:

1
(a 1 i a 2 )e i + (a 1 + i a 2 )e i
2
= a 1 cos + a 2 sin

1
a 20 =
(a 1 + i a 2 )e i (a 1 i a 2 )e i
2i
= a 2 cos a 1 sin

a 10 =

a 30 = a 3
This is a counter-clockwise rotation about the z-axis of angle .

i
2

0
e

Therefore, its determinant is:

~
~
a0 =

i
2

Peter Gyu Young Chang

4.

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

a) Expressing the trace of the operator X Y in terms of bra-ket algebra:


t r (X Y ) =

a 0 | X Y |a 0

a0

XX
a0

a 0 | X |a 00 a 00 | Y |a 0

a 00

XX

a 00 | Y |a 0 a 0 | X |a 00

a 0 a 00

a 00 | Y X |a 00

a 00

= t r (Y X )
b) Looking at the matrix elements:
(X Y ) a 0 |a 00 = a 0 | X Y |a 00 = X a 0 | Y |a 00
= Y X a 0 |a 00
for any a 0 and a 00 . Therefore, we have (X Y ) = Y X .
c) Suppose that A has eigenvalues:
A |a i = a i |a i
Taylor expanding the exponential, we have:
1
X
k
i f (A) |a 0
k=0 k!
X 1
X
(i f (A))k |a i a i |a 0
=
k!
k=0 i
X 1
X
=
(i f (a i ))k |a i a i |a 0
k!
k=0 i
X
= exp[i f (a i )] |a i a i |a 0

exp[i f (A)] |a 0 =

for arbitrary ket |a 0 . Therefore, we have:


exp[i f (A)] =

exp[i f (a i )] |a i a i |

d) The sum given, in bra-ket algebra is:


X
a0

a 0 (x 0 )a 0 (x 00 ) =

a 0 |x 0 x 00 |a 0

a0

x 00 |a 0 a 0 |x 0

a0

= x 00 |x 0
5.

a) The matrix element of the given operator is:


a (i ) | |a ( j ) = a (i ) | a ( j ) |
b) First, note that the ket is:
1
| = p (|+ + |)
2

Peter Gyu Young Chang

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

Therefore, matrix elements for the operator is:


1
+| |+ = s x = /2|+ = p
2
1
+| | = p
2
| |+ = 0
| | = 0
Therefore, the matrix for the operator is:

1 1 1
| | = p
2 0 0

6. Suppose that:
A |i = i |i
A | j = j | j
Then, we have:
A(|i + | j ) = i |i + j | j
Thus, we need the states to be degenerate: i = j for |i + | j to also be an eigenket for A:
A(|i + | j ) = i (|i + | j )
7.

a) We can operate the operator on an arbitrary ket |:


Y

(A a 0 ) | =

XY

a0

a 00 | (A a 0 ) |a 00

a 00 a 0

XY
a 00

a 00 | (a 00 a 0 ) |a 00

a0

=0
since for each a 00
Y

(a 00 a 0 ) = 0

a0

Thus the operator is the null operator.


b) If we operate the opeartor on an arbitrary ket in the same way:
Y (A a 00 )
X Y
1
| =
a 000 | (A a 00 ) |a 000
0
00
0 a 00 )
(a

a
)
(a
00
0
000
00
0
a 6=a
a a 6=a
X Y (a 000 a 00 ) 000
a | |a 000
0 a 00 )
(a
000
00
0
a a 6=a
X
= a 000 ,a 0 a 000 | |a 000

a 000

= a 0 | |a 0
Hence it projects the |a 0 component of an arbitrary ket.

Peter Gyu Young Chang

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

c) For A = S z , and a ket space spanned by {|+ , |}, we can construct an arbitrary ket |:
| = a + |+ + a |
for some complex numbers a + and a .
Then, operating on it by the first operator:

2
(S z + )(S z )s | = (S 2z ) |
2
2
4
2
= (S 2z )(a + |+ + a |)
4

2
2
2
= a + |+ + a | a + |+ + a |
4
4
4
4
=0
Operating on it by the second operator: first, for a 0 = /2,
S z + 2

+ 2

| =

Sz +
(a + |+ + a |)

1
(a + |+)

= a + |+

and the completely analogous process leads to the a 0 = /2 case, in which it results in a |.
8. First, the commutator is trivially zero if i = j . For i 6= j :
i 2
(|+ +| | | ( |+ +| + | |))
4
i 2
=
(2 |+ +| 2 | |)
4

= i (|+ +| | |)
2
= i S z

[S x , S y ] =

2
( |+ | + | +| (|+ | | +|))
4

i
= i ( |+ | + | +|)
2

[S x , S z ] =

= i S y
i 2
(|+ | + | +| ( |+ | | +|))
4

= i (|+ | + | +|)
2
= i S x

[S y , S z ] =

Hence, we have: [S i , S j ] = i i j k S k .
Next, for i 6= j , the anti-commutators evaluate:
{S x , S y } = {S x , S z } = {S y , S z } = 0

Peter Gyu Young Chang

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

and for i = j , they evaluate:


2
2
(|+ +| + | |) = ~
I
4
2
2
2
{S y , S y } = ( |+ +| | |) = ~
I
2
2
2
2
(|+ +| + | |) = ~
I
{S z , S z } =
2
2
{S x , S x } = 2S 2x = 2

Putting all these together, we have:

{S i , S j } =

2
~
I i j
2

9. Since the eigenket is some linear combination:


+ = a + |+ + a |
|~
S n;
First, check the result of the following:

|
2
i
|
S y |+ =
2

|+
2
i
S y | = |+
2

S x |+ =

S x | =

Then, the left side of the eigenvalue equation is:


Sx
cos sin

S y sin sin (a + |+ + a |) = S x cos sin + S y sin sin + S z cos (a + |+ + a |)


Sz
cos

i
= cos sin (a + | + a |+) + sin sin (a + | a |+)
2
2

+ cos (a + |+ a |)
2

= a + cos + a cos sin i sin sin |+


2
2

+ a + cos sin + i sin sin a cos |


2
2

= a + cos + a e i sin |+ +
a + e i sin a cos |
2
2
and the right side of the equation is:

(a + |+ + a |)
2

Since |+ and | are linearly independent, we have:


a + cos + a e i sin = a +
a + e i sin a cos = a
In other words:
cos
e i sin
e i sin
cos


a+
a+
=
a
a

Peter Gyu Young Chang

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

From the first equation, we have:


a+ =

e i sin
a
1 cos

Since the coefficients are normalized: |a + |2 +|a |2 = 1,

sin2
+
1
|a |2 = 1
(1 cos )2

1
|a |2 = (1 cos ) = sin2
2
2
1

|a + |2 = (1 + cos ) = cos2
2
2
Therefore, we have:

2
i
a = sin e
2
a + = cos

for some relative phase .


Plugging these in to the equation relating a + and a :
sin

=
sin e i ()
2 1 cos
2
1

cos

e i () =
cot
sin
2
1 cos sin
=
=1
sin 1 cos
cos

Thus, we need = .
Therefore, the eigenket is:
+ = cos
|~
S n;

|+ + sin e i |
2
2

10. Let |a 0 be the energy eigenkets:


|a 0 = a 1 |1 + a 2 |2
The Hamiltonian can be represented as a matrix:

1 1
H =a
1 1

Thus, the eigenvalue equation is:



1 1 a1
0 a1
a
=a
1 1 a 2
a2

Thus, the characteristic polynomial becomes:


(a 0 )2 a 2 a 2 = 0
Therefore, the eigenvalues are:
p
a 0 = 2a

Peter Gyu Young Chang

1 FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

And hence:
p
a 1 + a 2 = 2a 1
p
a 1 a 2 = 2a 2
In other words:
p
a 2 = ( 2 1)a 1
Hence:
|a 0 = C

1
p
21

for some constant C . Normalizing:

p
p
a 0 |a 0 = C 2 1 + ( 2 1)2 = C 2 4 2 2 = 1

C=q

1
p
2(2 2)

Thus, the two eigenkets are:


|a 10 = q

p
|1 + ( 2 1) |2

p
2(2 2)

p
1
|1 ( 2 + 1) |2
|a 20 = q
p
2(2 + 2)

a 10 =

p
2a

p
a 10 = 2a

11. We can rewrite the Hamiltonian:


H=

H11 + H22
H11 H22
(|1 1| |2 2|) + H12 (|1 2| + |2 1|)
(|1 1| + |2 2|) +
2
2

Note that we have the isomorphisms:


(|1 1| + |2 2|) I
2
(|1 1| |2 2|) S z

2
(|1 2| + |2 1|) S x