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The Momentum Operator is Hermitian

Hermitian:

∫ Ψ*j o^ Ψi dx = ∫ Ψi (o^ Ψj)* dx = ∫ Ψi o^ * Ψ*j dx

 d
p^ = – ih- 
 dx

Show:

∞  d ∞  d *
∫-∞ Ψ*j – ih-  Ψi dx = ∫-∞ Ψi – ih-  Ψ*j dx
 dx   dx 

dΨi
dx = dΨi
dx

∞  d ∞
∫-∞ Ψ*j – ih-  Ψi dx = – ih- ∫-∞ Ψ*j dΨi
 dx 

Integration by parts: ∫ u dv = uv – ∫ v du
with u = Ψ*j and dv = dΨi

∞ x=∞ ∞
– ih- ∫-∞ Ψ*j dΨi = – ih-[ Ψ*jΨi|x = -∞ – ∫-∞ Ψi dΨ*j]

For a confined particle: the product Ψ*jΨi goes to zero at each endpoint, since the
wave function approaches zero for long distances

∞  d ∞ ∞  d
∫-∞ Ψ*j – ih-  Ψi dx = ih- ∫-∞ Ψi dΨ*j = ∫-∞ Ψi ih-  Ψ*j dx
 dx  
dx 

(– ih- d/dx)* = (ih- d/dx)

Colby College