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Phys 481: Recitation 5


1. A three-state system has unperturbed Hamiltonian H 0 and is subject to a perturbation, H 1 . In the

basis of eigenstates of H 0 , we can represent H 0 and H 1 by the following matrices
E1 0 0 0 b a
H 0 = 0 E20 0 , H 1 = b 0 a .
0 0 E30 a a 0
(a) For this part, assume E10 6= E20 6= E30 :
i. Write down the normalized unperturbed eigenstates of this system (i.e. the eigenstates of H 0 ).
ii. Calculate the first order energy shift of all three states.
(b) For this part, assume E10 = E20 6= E30 :

i. Recall that Griffiths defines the matrix elements of the W-matrix as Wij i H 1 j , where
it is understood that |i i and |j i are degenerate, that is, Wij represent the perturbation, H 1
in the subspace of degenerate states. For this system, what should the dimensions of W be?
How do you know?
ii. Construct W for this system.
iii. Compute the first order energy shifts of all three states for this system.
iv. Find the good linear combinations of states that diagonalize W.
v. Let Htot = H 0 + H 1 , where is a parameter that signifies the strength of the perturbation. If
we are allowed to continuously vary between 0 and 1, plot the first order energy correction,
E 1 , as a function of lambda. Be sure to label each of the good linear combinations of states
on your plot based off of how their energy shifted.
2. A two-dimensional isotropic1 harmonic oscillator has a Hamiltonian given by
Px2 Py2 1
H0 = + + m 2 (X 2 + Y 2 ), (1)
2m 2m 2
where Px /2m and Py /2m denote the kinetic energy operators in the x and y directions, respectively
and X and Y are position operators in the x and y directions.
One can see that H 0 is a separable Hamiltonian, meaning we can split H 0 up into two independent
one-dimensional harmonic oscillator Hamiltonians, each oscillating at frequency . In particular, we
may write
Px2 1 Py2 1
H 0 = Hx0 + Hy0 where Hx0 =
+ m 2 X 2 and Hy0 = + m 2 Y 2 . (2)
2m 2 2m 2
If we let nx and ny be the two quantum numbers describing
E this system, then we may write our
unperturbed stationary states of this system as nx ,ny . For brevity let
E 0
0 0
0 0
nx ,ny |nx , ny i
with nx , ny nx , ny = n0x ,nx n0y ny (3)

and note that

H 0 |nx , ny i0 = (Hx0 + Hy0 ) |nx , ny i0
= (En0x + En0y ) |nx , ny i0
= En0x ,ny |nx , ny i0 (4)
An isotropic harmonic oscillator is one that oscillates with the same frequency in multiple different directions. In our case,
then, our oscillator has a single frequency of , as opposed to an anisotropic oscillator which would have separte frequencies,
x and y in the x and y directions.

(a) Given that the energy of the nth stationary state of the one-dimensional quantum harmonic oscil-
lator is En = (n + 1/2)~, write down an expression for En0x ,ny in terms of nx , ny , ~, and (use
the equivalencies outlined in (4) to help you out).
(b) What is the ground state energy of this system? Is there any degeneracy?
(c) What are the energies of the first and second excited states of this system? Are there any degen-
(d) Suppose a perturbation H 1 = m 2 XY is added to the system, where is a parameter which we
may continuously vary.
i. Find the first order correction to the ground state of this system. Note: Recall that in the 1D
case we used raising and lowering operators to help us out here. We can do the same thing in
the 2D case and define operators ax and ay that independently raise and lower the x and y
states as follows:

ax+ |nx , ny i = nx + 1 |nx + 1, ny i ax |nx , ny i = nx |nx 1, ny i
ay+ |nx , ny i = ny + 1 |nx , ny + 1i ay |nx , ny i = ny |nx , ny 1i
Also Note: We can write out X and Y in terms of these ladder operators as follows (see
Griffiths Ch. 2 for a refresher)
r r
~ ~
X= (ax+ + ax ) and Y = (ay+ + ay ) .
2m 2m
ii. Using degenerate perturbation theory, construct the W matrix (as defined in Griffiths). To be
consistent with the notation, let |a i (in Griffiths notation) be |1, 0i for our system and |b i
be |0, 1i.
iii. Find the first order energy corrections to the first excited state of this system.
iv. Determine the good linear combinations of states that diagonalize W.
v. Plot the first excited state energy of this system as a function of (where ranges from 0;
where the perturbation is off, to 1; where the perturbation is at full strength). If you find the
degeneracy to have been lifted, label each of the good linear combinations from part (iv) on
your graph based off of how their energy shifted.

3. (Bonus: Do on your own time if youre interested) If we let |a i = |2, 0i, |b i = |1, 1i and |c i = |0, 2i,
it can be shown that the W matrix for the second excited state (3-fold degeneracy) of the same system
as part (d) of problem 2, is

0 1 0
W= ~ 1 0 1
0 1 0
Using this information, (i) find the first order energy corrections to the second excited state of this
system, (ii) determine the good linear combinations that diagonalize W and (iii) plot the second
excited state energy versus and label the appropriate linear combinations of states based off of how
their energy shifts when the perturbation is turned on.