### Ehrenfest's Theorem and Derivation

Ehrenfest's Theorem Statement:

The theorem states that

Quantum mechanics gives the same results as classical mechanics for a particle for which average or expectation values of dynamical quantities are involved.

Proof of theorem:

The proof of the theorem for one-dimensional motion of a particle by showing that

1) $\frac{d \left < x \right >}{dt} = \frac{\left < p_{x} \right > }{m}$

2) $\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \left < F_{x} \right >$

1.) To Show that: $\frac{d \left < x \right > }{dt} = \frac{\left < p_{x} \right > }{m}$

Let $x$ is the position coordinate of a particle of mass $m$, at time $t$

The expectation value of position $x$ of a particle is given by

$\left < x \right > = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \psi^{*} (x,t) . x \: \psi (x,t) dx \qquad (1)$

Differentiating the above equation $(1)$ with respect to $t$

$\frac{d \left < x \right > }{dt} = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} x \frac{\partial (\psi \psi^{*})}{\partial t} dx \qquad(2)$

We know the probablity current density

$\frac{\partial (\psi \psi^{*})}{\partial t} = \frac{i \hbar}{2m} \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \left[ \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi \frac{\partial \psi^{*} }{\partial x} \right] \qquad(3)$

Now substitute the above eqaution$(3)$ in eqaution $(2)$

$\frac{d \left < x \right > }{dt} = \frac{i \hbar}{2m} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} x \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \left[ \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi \frac{\partial \psi^{*} }{\partial x} \right] dx$

Integrating the right-hand side by parts of the above equation, we get

$\frac{d \left < x \right > }{dt} = \frac{i \hbar}{2m} \left[ x \left( \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi \frac{\partial \psi^{*} }{\partial x} \right) \right]^{+\infty}_{-\infty} \\ \qquad - \frac{i \hbar}{2m} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi \frac{\partial \psi^{*} }{\partial x} \right) dx$

As $x$ approaches either $+ \infty$ or $-\infty$, $\psi$ and $\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x}$ approach zero, and therefore the first term becomes zero.

Hence we get

$\frac{d \left < x \right > }{dt} = - \frac{i \hbar}{2m} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi \frac{\partial \psi^{*} }{\partial x} \right) dx \\ \qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad ---(4)$

The expectation value of $p_{x}$ is given by

$\left < p_{x} \right > = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \psi^{*} \frac{\hbar}{i} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x}$

$\int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} dx = \frac{i}{\hbar}\left < p_{x} \right > \qquad(5)$

Similarly

$\int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \psi \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial x} dx = - \frac{i}{\hbar}\left < p_{x} \right > \qquad(6)$

Substituting the values of these integrals in equation $(4)$

$\frac{d \left < x \right > }{dt} = - \frac{i \hbar}{2m} \left[ \frac{i}{\hbar}\left < p_{x} \right > + \frac{i}{\hbar}\left < p_{x} \right >\right]$

$\frac{d \left < x \right > }{dt} = - \frac{\left < p_{x} \right >}{m} \qquad(7)$

This is the first result of Ehrenfest's Theorem.

2) To show that: $\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \left < F_{x} \right >$

We know that the expectation value of the momentum $p_{x}$ is given by

$\left < p_{x} \right > = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \psi^{*} \frac{\hbar}{i} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x}$

$\left < p_{x} \right > =\frac{\hbar}{i} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} \qquad(8)$

Differentiating the equation $(8)$ with respect to $t$, we get

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \frac{\hbar}{i} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left[ \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial t} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} + \psi^{*} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x \partial t} \right]$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left[-i \hbar \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial t} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - i\hbar \psi^{*} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x \partial t} \right] \\ \qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad ---(9)$

Now the time-dependent Schrodinger equations for $\psi$ and $\psi^{*}$ are

$i \hbar \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial t} =- \frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x^{2}} + V \psi \qquad(10)$

The complex conjugate of Schrodinger function

$-i \hbar \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial t} = -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi^{*}}{\partial x^{2}} + V \psi^{*} \qquad(11)$

Differentiating the equation $(10)$ with respect to $x$

$i \hbar \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x \partial t} = - \frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{3} \psi}{\partial x^{3}} + \frac{\partial (V \psi)}{\partial x} \qquad(12)$

Now substitute the value of $-i \hbar \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial t}$ and $i \hbar \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x \partial t}$ in the equation $(9)$, we get

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left[ \left( -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi^{*}}{\partial x^{2}} + V \psi^{*} \right) \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \left( - \frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{3} \psi}{\partial x^{3}} + \frac{\partial (V \psi)}{\partial x} \right) \right]$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left[-\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \left( \frac{\partial^{2} \psi^{*}}{\partial x^{2}}\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial^{3} \psi}{\partial x^{3}} \right) - \left( V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial (V \psi)}{\partial x} \right) \right] dx$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( \frac{\partial^{2} \psi^{*}}{\partial x^{2}}\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial^{3} \psi}{\partial x^{3}} \right) dx + \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial (V \psi)}{\partial x} \right) dx$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \left( \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial x}\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x^{2}} \right) dx + \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial (V \psi)}{\partial x} \right) dx$

Now put $\frac{\partial (V \psi)}{\partial x}= \left\{ \psi \frac{\partial V }{\partial x}+ V\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} \right\}$ in above equation:

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \frac{\partial}{\partial x} \left( \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial x}\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x^{2}} \right) dx + \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \left\{ \psi \frac{\partial V }{\partial x}+ V\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} \right\} \right) dx$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \left[ \frac{\partial \psi^{*}}{\partial x}\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi}{\partial x^{2}} \right]_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} + \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \left\{ \psi \frac{\partial V }{\partial x}+ V\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} \right\} \right) dx$

As $x$ approaches either $+ \infty$ or $-\infty$ and $\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x}$ is zero. Therefore the first term of the above equation on the right-hand side will be zero.

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi^{*} \left\{ \psi \frac{\partial V }{\partial x}+ V\frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} \right\} \right) dx$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \left( V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} - \psi \frac{\partial V }{\partial x} \psi^{*} - V \psi^{*} \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial x} \right) dx$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} - \psi \frac{\partial V }{\partial x} \psi^{*} dx$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = - \int_{- \infty}^{+ \infty} \psi \frac{\partial V }{\partial x} \psi^{*} dx$

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = -\left < \frac{\partial V }{\partial x} \right >$

Here the $\left < \frac{\partial V }{\partial x} \right >$ is the average value or expectation value of potential gradient and the negative value of the potential gradient is equal to the average value or expectation value of force $\left < F_{x} \right >$ along the $x$ direction.

$\frac{d \left < p_{x} \right >}{dt} = \left < F_{x} \right >$

This is the second result of Ehrenfest theorem and it represents Newton's second law of motion. Thus if the expectation values of dynamical quantities for a particle are, considered, quantum mechanics given the equations of classical mechanics.

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