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Quantum Mechanics I

Fall 2005Instructor: Julio Gea-Banacloche


Homework #1Justin Vines
Chapter 1, Problem 2.
According to the equipartition theorem, the average kinetic energy (due to motion in
only one direction/dimension) of each atom in a gas of noninteracting atoms at temperature
T is approximately equal to kT/2, where k is Boltzmanns constant. Thus, the average
momentum (in one direction) of such an atom is given by
p
2
2m

kT
2
p

mkT. (1)
The corresponding de Broglie wavelength of the atom is then given by
=
2
p

2

mkT
. (2)
If there are N such atoms in a volume V , the inter-atom distance will be on the order of
(V/N)
1/3
. Since Bose-Einstein condensation occurs when the inter-atom distance is compa-
rable to the de Broglie wavelength of the atoms, we have the condition
_
V
N
_1
3

mkT
. (3)
Thus, for atoms of mass m at a given temperature T, the particle density needed to achieve
Bose-Einstein condensation is approximately
N
V

_

mkT
2
_
3
. (4)
For atoms with mass m = 100 u at a temperature T = 10
7
K, this density is approximately
10
52
atoms/m
3
.
Chapter 2, Problem 1.
A one-dimensional initial wave packet with a mean wave number

k and a Gaussian
amplitude is given by
(x, 0) = C exp
_

x
2
4(x)
2
+ i

kx
_
. (5)
If this initial wave function is written as a superposition of monochromatic plane waves e
ikx
with continuously varying wave numbers k and coecients (k)/

2,
(x, 0) =
1

2
_

(k)e
ikx
dk, (6)
1
we can see that (x, 0) is the Fourier transform of (k). Therefore, (k) is given by the
inverse Fourier transform:
(k) =
1

2
_

(x, 0)e
ikx
dx. (7)
Substituting Eq. (5) into Eq. (7), we nd
(k) =
C

2
_

exp
_

x
2
4(x)
2
i(k

k)x
_
dx
=
C

2
exp
_
(x)
2
(k

k)
2

exp
_

x
2
4(x)
2
i(k

k)x + (x)
2
(k

k)
2
_
dx
=
C

2
exp
_
(x)
2
(k

k)
2

exp
_

_
x
2(x)
+ i(x)(k

k)
_
2
_
dx. (8)
Here, I have simply completed the square in the exponent and factored an x-independent
term out of the integral. With the substitution
x
2(x)
+ i(x)(k

k) u dx = 2(x)du, (9)
Eq. (8) becomes
(k) =
C

2
exp
_
(x)
2
(k

k)
2

[2(x)]
_

e
u
2
du. (10)
The integral is now a standard Gaussian integral, which evaluates to

. We thus have
(k) =

2C(x) exp
_
(x)
2
(k

k)
2

. (11)
If this (x, 0) is the initial wave function for a free particle of mass m, we can construct
its time-dependent wave function (x, t) by superposing the time-dependent plane waves
e
ikxit
with the same amplitudes (k)/

2:
(x, t) =
1

2
_

(k)e
ikxit
dk. (12)
The relationship between and k is determined by the non-relativistic relationship be-
tween the energy E and the momentum p of a free particle and the fundamental quantum
mechanical relationships E = and p = k:
E =
p
2
2m
=
(k)
2
2m
=

2m
k
2
. (13)
2
Substituting Eqs. (11) and (13) into Eq. (14), we nd
(x, t) =
C(x)

exp
_
(x)
2
(k

k)
2
+ ikx i

2m
k
2
t
_
dk
=
C(x)

exp
_
(x)
2
k
2
+ 2(x)
2

kk (x)
2

k
2
+ ikx
it
2m
k
2
_
dk
=
C(x)

exp
_

_
(x)
2
+
it
2m
_
k
2
+
_
ix + 2(x)
2

k (x)
2

k
2
_
dk. (14)
With the substitutions
(x)
2
+
it
2m
y
2
, ix + 2(x)
2

k z, (15)
Eq. (14) becomes
(x, t) =
C(x)

exp
_
y
2
k
2
+ zk (x)
2

k
2

dk
=
C(x)

exp
_
(x)
2

k
2
+
z
2
4y
2
_ _

exp
_
y
2
k
2
+ zk
z
2
4y
2
_
dk
=
C(x)

exp
_
(x)
2

k
2
+
z
2
4y
2
_ _

exp
_

_
yk
z
2y
_
2
_
dk. (16)
Here, again, I have simply completed the square in the exponent and factored a k-
independent term out of the integral. With the substitution
yk
z
2y
v dk =
1
y
dv, (17)
Eq. (16) becomes
(x, t) =
C(x)

exp
_
(x)
2

k
2
+
z
2
4y
2
_ _
1
y
__

e
v
2
dv. (18)
Again, the standard Gaussian integral evaluates to

, leaving us with
(x, t) =
C(x)
y
exp
_
(x)
2

k
2
+
z
2
4y
2
_
, (19)
where y and z are the complex-valued functions of x and t given by Eq. (15). Taking the
square of the absolute value of Eq. (19), we have
|(x, t)|
2
=
|C|
2
(x)
2
|y|
2
exp
_
2(x)
2

k
2
+
1
2
Re
_
z
2
y
2
__
. (20)
Using Eq. (15), we nd
|y|
2
= |y
2
| =

(x)
2
+
it
2m

=
_
(x)
4
+

2
t
2
4m
2
= (x)
2

1 +

2
t
2
4m
2
(x)
4
, (21)
3
and
z
2
y
2
=
_
ix + 2(x)
2

2
(x)
2
+ it/2m
=
x
2
+ 4i(x)
2

kx + 4(x)
4

k
2
(x)
2
+ it/2m
=
_
x
2
+ 4i(x)
2

kx + 4(x)
4

k
2

[(x)
2
it/2m]
[(x)
2
+ it/2m] [(x)
2
it/2m]
=
(x)
2
x
2
+ ix
2
t/2m + 4i(x)
4

kx + 2(x)
2

kxt/m + 4(x)
6

k
2
2i(x)
4

k
2
t/m
(x)
4
+
2
t
2
/4m
2
=
(x)
2
x
2
+ 2(x)
2

kxt/m + 4(x)
6

k
2
(x)
4
+
2
t
2
/4m
2
+i
x
2
t/2m + 4(x)
4

kx 2(x)
4

k
2
t/m
(x)
4
+
2
t
2
/4m
2
. (22)
Continuing with only the real part of Eq. (22), we nd
Re
_
z
2
y
2
_
=
(x)
2
x
2
+ 2(x)
2

kxt/m + 4(x)
6

k
2
(x)
4
+
2
t
2
/4m
2
=
x
2
+ 2

kxt/m + 4(x)
4

k
2
(x)
2
[1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
]
=
x
2
+ 2

kxt/m
2

k
2
t
2
/m
2
+
2

k
2
t
2
/m
2
+ 4(x)
4

k
2
(x)
2
[1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
]
=

_
x

kt/m
_
2
+ 4(x)
4

k
2
[
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
+ 1]
(x)
2
[1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
]
=

_
x

kt/m
_
2
(x)
2
[1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
]
+ 4(x)
2

k
2
. (23)
At long last, we can substitute Eqs. (21) and (23) into Eq. (20) to nd
|(x, t)|
2
=
|C|
2
(x)
2
(x)
2
_
1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
exp
_
2(x)
2

k
2
+
1
2
_

_
x

kt/m
_
2
(x)
2
[1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
]
+ 4(x)
2

k
2
__
, (24)
which simplies to the nal result:
|(x, t)|
2
=
|C|
2
_
1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
exp
_

_
x

kt/m
_
2
2(x)
2
[1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
]
_
. (25)
We can see that the center of the wave packet advances with a velocity

k/m = p/m,
which is exactly the velocity of a classical particle with a momentum p. We can also see that
the packets amplitude |C|
2
/
_
1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
decreases over time, while its dispersion
x
_
1 +
2
t
2
/4m
2
(x)
4
increases over time; the wave thus becomes less localized and more
4
diuse as it advances. To gain a rough measure of this spreading eect, we can calculate
the time it takes for the wave function of a particle of mass m, which is initially localized in
a region of width x, to spread out into a region of twice that width (2x):
x

1 +

2
t
2
4m
2
(x)
4
= 2x t =
2

3m(x)
2

. (26)
For a paperclip, with mass m = 10
3
kg and width x = 10
2
m, we nd that this time
is approximately 3 10
27
smuch longer than the age of the universe. However, for an
electron of mass m = 9 10
31
kg initially conned to a region roughly the size of an atom
(x = 10
10
m), this time is approximately 3 10
16
sbarely an instant. Thus, such
spreading readily occurs at the microscopic level but will certainly never be seen at the
macroscopic level.
Below are plots of |(x, t)|
2
/|C|
2
versus x in units where = m = x = 1 and

k = 3,
rst for 7 then for 49 equally spaced values of t starting at t = 0 and ending at t = 4.
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