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Quantum Superposition and Optical Transitions

Outline
Generating EM Fields
Time-Varying Wavefunctions
Superposition of Energy States

Maxwell and Schrdinger


Maxwells Equations



 dl = d
 dl
E
B
dt
C
S



d
 dA

 dl = J dA
+
E
H
dt S
C

Quantum Field Theory


is thought to be the unique and
correct outcome of combining the
rules of quantum mechanics with the
principles of the theory of relativity.

The Schrodinger Equation

The Wave Equation

2 2

j =
2
t
2m x

2 Ey
2 Ey
=  2
2
z
t

(free-particle)

Dispersion Relation

Dispersion Relation

2 = c2 k 2
= ck

2 k 2
 =
2m

Energy-Momentum

Energy-Momentum

p2
E=
(free-particle)
2m

E =  = ck = cp
2

P-N Junctions and LEDs

p-type

n-type

LED

Power Source

Resistor
Not
Shown

High energy electrons (n-type) fall into low energy holes (p-type)
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P-N Junctions and LEDs

ENERGY

Red
Light
Emitted

Yellow
Light
Emitted

Small Gap

Large Gap

P-N Junctions and LEDs

Uncertain energy during transition from high energy to low energy

(x, t) = 1 (x)eiE1 t/ + 2 (x)eiE2 t/


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Coupling of Electric and Magnetic Fields


Maxwells Equations couple H and E fields..
Oscillating B generates H

d


E dl =
dt
C



Oscillating E generates H

 dA

B

 dl
H


C
d
 dA



E
J dA +
=
dt S
S

How are the oscillating fields generated ?

Time-Dependent Schrodinger Equation


For that matter, how do we get ANYTHING to move ?

states of definite
energy
(x, t) = eiEt/ (x)

2 2

i =
+ V (x)
2
t
2m x

2 2
E =
+ V (x)
2
2m x

Schrodinger says that definite energy states do not move, they are stationary !
2

|(x, t)| = |(x)|

Example: Superposition of Energy States


It is possible that a particle can be in a superposition of eigenstates with
different energies.
Such superpositions are also solutions of the time-dependent SEQ!
What is E of this superposition?
Lets see how these superpositions evolve with time.

Particle is described by a wavefunction involving a superposition of the two


lowest infinite square well states (n=1 and 2)

(x, t) = 1 (x)ei1 t + 2 (x)ei2 t


E1
1 =

2
E1 =
8mL2
 
x
1 (x) = A1 sin
L

E2
2 =


(x)
V=

E2 = 4E1
0


2
x
2 = A1 sin
L
8

V=

1
2

Example: Superposition of Energy States


The probability density is given by: |(x,t)|2 :
2

|(x, t)| = |1 (x)| + |2 (x)| + 21 2 cos((1 2 )t)


Because the cos term oscillates between 1, |(x,t)|2 oscillates between:
2

|(x, t1 )| = |1 (x) + 2 (x)|

|(x, t2 )| = |1 (x) 2 (x)|

2
|(x,
t
)|
1
Probability

|(x, t2 )|2

particle localized on right side of well

particle localized on left side of well

The frequency of oscillation between these two extremes is


9

E2 E1
=


Numerical Example
Consider the numerical example:
An electron in the infinite square well potential
is initially (at t=0) confined to the left side of
the well, and is described by the following
wavefunction:

(x, t = 0) = A

2
L

V=



 
2
x + sin
x
sin
L
L
V=

If the well width is L = 0.5 nm, determine the


time to it takes for the particle to move to the
right side of the well.
n = 2L/n
2
2
h
1.505eV nm
2
En =
=
E
=
E
n
n
1
2me 2n
2n
1.505 eV nm2
1.505 eV nm2
E1 =
=
= 1.505 eV
4L2
4(0.5 nm)2

|(x, t = 0)|2
V=

|(x, t0 )|2
V=

period T = 1/f = 2t0


with f = (E2-E1)/h

h
h
4.136 1015 eV sec
T
=
=
=
= 4.6 1016 sec
to =
2
2(E2 E1 )
2(3E1 )
2(3 1.5 eV)
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Example: Superposition of Energy States


Consider a particle in an infinite potential well, which at t= 0 is in the state:

(x, t) = 0.52 (x)ei2 t + 0.8664 (x)ei4 t


with 2(x) and 4(x) bothnormalized.


2
x
2 (x) = A2 sin
L


4
x
4 (x) = A4 sin
L

1. If we measure the energy of the particle: What is the measured energy?


(b) E4
(c) 0.25 E2 + 0.75 E4
(a) E2
(d) It depends on when we measure the energy
2. If we measure the energy of the particle: What is the expected (average) energy?
(b) E4
(c) 0.25 E2 + 0.75 E4
(a) E2
(d) It depends on when we measure the energy
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Normalizing Superposition States


Its a mathematical fact that any two eigenstates with different
eigenvalues (of any measurable, including energy) are ORTHOGONAL
Meaning:

1 (x)2 (x)dx = 0

So when you normalize a superposition of normalized energy eigenstates,


you just have to make the sum of the absolute squares of their coefficients
come out 1.

(x)

 
x
1 (x) = A1 sin
L 
2
x
2 (x) = A2 sin
L

V=

12

V=

1
2

Energy of Superposition States


The important new result concerning superpositions of energy eigenstates is that
these superpositions represent quantum particles that are moving. Consider:

(x, t) = A1 1 (x)ei1 t + A2 2 (x)ei2 t


But what happens if we try to measure E on a wavefunction which involves more
than one energy?
We can still only measure one of the allowed energies,
i.e., one of the eigenstate energies (e.g., only E1 or E2 in (x,t) above)!
If (x,t) is normalized, |A1|2 and |A2|2 give us the probabilities that
energies E1 and E2, respectively, will be measured in an experiment!

When do we not know the energy of an electron ?

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Beautiful Consistency

At what frequency does the charge oscillation occur ?

How much energy does the field take away ?

What is the energy of the photon that is released ?

Quantum mechanics gives us the oscillating dipole,


Maxwell gives us the field !
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Atomic Transitions

= c1s 1s eiE1s t + c2p 2p eiE2p t


r

2p

V (r)

1s
photon

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Solar Cells and Photodetectors


r

V (r)

P1
E

2p
1s
Emission
photon

Classical: Oscillating electric field drives charge oscillation


Quantum: Electric field creates superposition of energy states
which have an oscillating charge density

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(junction of two differently doped pieces of the same semiconductors)

Semiconductor Homojunction Solar Cell


n-type Silicon

p-type Silicon

IT IS ENERGETICALLY
FAVORABLE FOR
ELECTRONS TO GO TO THE
MATERIAL ON THE RIGHT

electron
CONDUCTION
BAND

METAL
CONTACT

IT IS ENERGETICALLY
FAVORABLE FOR HOLES TO
STAY IN THE MATERIAL ON
THE LEFT

VALENCE
BAND

METAL
CONTACT

hole

Resistor
V

Animated
Photogeneration
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6.007 Electromagnetic Energy: From Motors to Lasers


Spring 2011

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