Showing posts with label Quantum Mechanics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quantum Mechanics. Show all posts

Physical interpretation of the wave function

We have assumed that the wave associated with a particle in motion is represented by a complex variable quantity called the wave function $\psi(x,t)$. Therefore, it can not have a direct physical meaning. Since it is a complex quantity, it may be expressed as

$\psi(x,y,z,t)=a+ib \qquad(1)$

Where $a$ and $b$ are real functions of the variable $(x,y,z,t)$. The complex conjugate of wave function $\psi(x,y,z,t)$

$\psi^{*}(x,y,z,t)=a-ib \qquad(2)$

Multiply equation $(1)$ and equation $(2)$

$\psi(x,y,z,t).\psi^{*}(x,y,z,t)=a^{2}+b^{2} \qquad(3)$

$ \left| \psi(x,y,z,t) \right|^{2}=a^{2}+b^{2} \qquad(4)$

If $\psi \neq 0$ Then the product of $\psi$ and $\psi^{*}$ is real and positive. Its positive square root is denoted by $\left|\psi(x,y,z,t) \right|$, and it is called the modulus of $\psi$.

The quantity $ \left| \psi(x,y,z,t) \right|^{2}$ is called the probability density $(P)$. So for the motion of a particle, the probability of finding the particle in the region $d\tau$ will be:

$\int {P d\tau}= \int {\psi(x,y,z,t).\psi^{*}(x,y,z,t).d\tau}=\int {\left| \psi(x,y,z,t) \right|^{2}d\tau}$

Here $P$ are the probability that tells us that the particle will be found in a volume element $d\tau($ surrounding the point at position $(x,y,z)$ at time $t$.

For the motion of a particle in one dimension, the probability of finding the particle in the region $dx$ will be:

$\int{P dx}= \int {\psi(x,t).\psi^{*}(x,t).dx}=\int {\left| \psi(x,t) \right|^{2}dx}$

Particle in one dimensional box (Infinite Potential Well)

Let us consider a particle of mass $m$ that is confined to one-dimensional region $0 \leq x \leq L$ or the particle is restricted to move along the $x$-axis between $x=0$ and $x=L$. Let the particle can move freely in either direction, between $x=0$ and $x=L$. The endpoints of the region behave as ideally reflecting barriers so that the particle can not leave the region. A potential energy function $V(x)$ for this situation is shown in the figure below.
Particle in One-Dimensional Box

Particle in One-Dimensional Box(Infinite Potential Well)

The potential energy inside the one -dimensional box can be represented as

$\begin{Bmatrix} V(x)=0 &for \: 0\leq x \leq L \\ V(x)=\infty & for \: 0> x > L \\ \end{Bmatrix}$

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+\frac{2m}{\hbar^{2}}(E-V)\psi(x)=0 \qquad(1)$

If the particle is free in a one-dimensional box, Schrodinger's wave equation can be written as:

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+\frac{2mE}{\hbar^{2}}\psi(x)=0$

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+\frac{8 \pi^{2} mE}{h^{2}}\psi(x)=0 \quad (\because \hbar=\frac{h}{2 \pi}) \quad(2)$

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+ k^{2}\psi(x)=0 \quad (\because k^{2}=\frac{8 \pi^{2} mE}{h^{2}}) \quad(3)$

The general solution of the above differential equation $(2)$

$\psi(x)= A sin(kx)+ B cos(kx) \qquad(4)$

The wave function $\psi(x)$ should be zero everywhere outside the box since the probability of finding the particle outside the box is zero. Similarly, the wave function $\psi(x)$ must also be zero at walls of the box because the probability density $[\psi(x)]^{2}$ must be continuous. Thus, the boundary conditions for this problem is that

(i) $\psi(x)=0$ For $x=0$

(ii) $\psi(x)=0$ For $x=L$

Now applying the boundary condition in equation$(4)$ i.e.

(i) At $x=0$ the wave function $\psi(0)=0$

Now we get

$\psi(0)= A sin(k.0)+ B cos(k.0)$

$A sin(k.0)+ B cos(k.0)=0 \qquad (\because \psi(0)= 0)$


Hence substitute the value of $B$ in equation$(4)$ ,

$\psi(L)= A sin(kx) \qquad(5)$

Now applying the second boundary condition:

(ii) At $x=L$ the wave function $\psi(L)=0$, we get

$\psi(x)= A sin(kL) \qquad(6)$

This equation will satisfy only for certain values of $k$, say $k_{n}$. Since $A$ can not be taken zero hence

$sin(k_{n}L)=0 $

$sin(k_{n}L)=sin(n\pi) $

$k_{n}L=n\pi $

$k_{n}=\frac{n\pi}{L} \qquad(7)$

Thus for each allowed values of $k_{n}$ there is a wave function $\psi(x)$ given as, using equation$(5)$ and equation$(7)$

$\psi_{n}(x)=A sin(\frac{n\pi x}{L})$

This is the expression of the wave function or eigen function for a particle in a box.

Now, from equation $(3)$ and equation$(7)$, we get

$k^{2}=\frac{8 \pi^{2} mE}{h^{2}}= (\frac{n \pi}{L})^{2}$

$E=\frac{n^{2} h^{2}}{8mL^{2}}$

This is the expression of energy or eigen value for a particle in a box.

In general, the expression for this energy is written as:

$E_{n}=\frac{n^{2} h^{2}}{8mL^{2}}$

For different values of $n$ energy values can be written as

For $n=1$


It is known as zero-point energy or ground energy state

For $n=2$

$E_{2}=\frac{2^{2} h^{2}}{8mL^{2}}=2^{2}E_{1}$

For $n=3$

$E_{3}=\frac{3^{2} h^{2}}{8mL^{2}}=3^{2}E_{1}$

For $n=4$

$E_{4}=\frac{4^{2} h^{2}}{8mL^{2}}=4^{2}E_{1}$

So generalized form of the above equation can be written as


Some of the possible energies for a particle in a box are shown on an energy-level diagram in the figure below.
Possible Energies for a particle in a box

Possible Energies for a particle in a box

The energy levels have a spacing that increases with increasing $n$ and thus the particle in a box can take only certain discrete energy values, called Eigen-values. This means that the energy levels of a particle in a box are quantized but according to classical mechanics, the particle may take any continuous range of energy values between zero and infinity.

Derivation of time independent Schrodinger wave equation

Time independent Schrodinger wave equation:

We know the time dependent Schrodinger wave equation:

$i \hbar \frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t}= -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x,t)}{\partial x^{2}}+ V(x) \psi(x,t) \qquad(1)$

The wave function $\psi(x,t)$ is the product of space function $\psi(x)$ and time function $\psi(t)$. So

$\psi(x,t)=\psi(x) \psi(t) \qquad (2)$

Now apply the wave function form of equation$(2)$ to time-independent Schrodinger wave equation $(1)$

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

Now divide the above equation $(3)$ by $\psi(x)\psi(t)$ so

$i \hbar \frac{1}{\psi(t)} \frac{\partial \psi(t)}{\partial t}= -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{1}{\psi(x)} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+ V(x) \qquad(4)$

The above equation is known as the separation of time-independent part and time-independent part of the wave equation. The time-independent part is known as the energy function operator. i.e

$E=i \hbar \frac{1}{\psi(t)} \frac{\partial \psi(t)}{\partial t} \qquad(5)$

So from equation $(4)$ and equation$(5)$

$E= -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{1}{\psi(x)} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+ V(x)$

$E \psi(x)= -\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+ V(x) \psi(x)$

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+\frac{2m}{\hbar^{2}}(E-V)\psi(x)=0$

This is time-independent Schrodinger wave equation.

Now for a free particle i.e, there is no force acting on the particle then the potential energy of a particle will be zero i.e. $V(x)=0$. Therefore time independent Schrodinger equation can be written as:

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x)}{\partial x^{2}}+\frac{2mE}{\hbar^{2}}\psi(x)=0$

This is time-independent Schrodinger wave equation for a free particle.

Derivation of time dependent Schrodinger's wave equation

Time-dependent Schrodinger wave equation:

Let a particle of mass $m$ is moving along the positive $x$-direction. So the total energy $E$ of the particle is:



$E=\frac{(P_{x}^{2})^{2}}{2m}+V(x) \qquad(1)$

Since moving particles are associated with the wave function $\psi(x,t)$. So multiply $\psi(x,t)$ on both sides of equation$(1)$

$E\psi(x,t) =\frac{(P_{x}^{2})^{2}}{2m} \psi(x,t)+V(x) \psi(x,t) \qquad(2)$

The wave function $\psi(x,t)$ representing the plane wave associated with the particle is given by:

$\psi(x,t)=A e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}(P_{x}.x-Et)} \qquad(3)$

Differentiate with respect to $x$ the above equation $(3)$

$\frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial x}= A e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}(P_{x}.x-Et)} (\frac{i}{\hbar})P_{x} \qquad(4)$

Again differentiate the above equation$(4)$

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x,t)}{\partial x^{2}}= A e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}(P_{x}.x-Et)} (\frac{i}{\hbar})^{2}P_{x}^{2}$

$\frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x,t)}{\partial x^{2}}= - \frac{P_{x}^{2}}{\hbar ^{2}} \psi(x,t)$

$P_{x}^{2}\psi(x,t) =- \hbar^{2} \frac{\partial^{2} \psi(x,t)}{\partial x^{2}} \qquad(5)$

Now differentiate the equation $(3)$ with respect to $t$

$\frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t}= A e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}(P_{x}.x-Et)} (\frac{i}{\hbar})(-E)$

$\frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t}= - (\frac{i}{\hbar})E\psi(x,t)$

$\frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t}= - (\frac{i}{\hbar})E\psi(x,t)$

$ E\psi(x,t)= -(\frac{\hbar}{i}) \frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t}$

$ E\psi(x,t)= i^{2}(\frac{\hbar}{i}) \frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t} \qquad (\because i^{2}=-1)$

$ E\psi(x,t)= i \hbar \frac{\partial \psi(x,t)}{\partial t} \qquad(6)$

Now substitute the value $E\psi(x,t)$ and $P_{x}^{2} \psi(x,t)$ in equation $(2)$. Then

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

Thus above equation is time-dependent Schrodinger equation. Another form of the above equation can be written as:

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

$i \hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial t}$→ Energy operator (E)

$-\frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m} \frac{\partial^{2}}{\partial x^{2}}+ V(x)$→ Hamiltonian operator(H)

Now above equation:

$E \psi(x,t)=H \psi(x,t)$

Significance of Compton effect

Description of Significance of Compton effect:

There are the following significance of the Compton effect→
  1. The greatest significance of the Compton effect is that is to provide final and deciding proof for Planck-Einstein's visualization of the quantum nature of radiation. The particle nature of light was established after the discovery of the Compton effect.
  2. The discovery of the Compton effect led to the formulation of quantum mechanics by W. Heisenberg and E. Schrodinger and provided the basis for the beginning of the theory of quantum electrodynamics.
  3. It is most important to radiobiology, as it happens to be the most probable interaction of high energy x-ray with atomic nuclei in living beings and is applied in radiation therapy.
  4. It is used to prove the wave function of electrons in the matter in the momentum representation.
  5. It is the most effective in Gamma spectroscopy that gives rise to Compton edge, as it is possible for gamma rays to scatter out of the detectors used.
  6. The Compton effect has played a significant role in diverse scientific areas such as nuclear engineering, experimental and theoretical nuclear physics, atomic physics, plasma physics, x-ray crystallography, etc.
  7. The Compton effect provides an important research tool in some branches of medicine, including molecular chemistry, solid-state physics, etc.
  8. The Compton effect has an appropriate application in the measurement of lungs density in living organisms.
  9. The Compton effect is useful in putting large detectors in orbit above the earth's atmosphere.
  10. The development of a high-resolution semiconductor radiation detector opened a new area for the application of Compton scattering.