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Chemistry 460

Dr. Jean M. Standard

Review Problem Solutions Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

1. Determine the outcomes of operating the following operators on the functions listed. (In these functions,
a is aconstant.)

a.) operator: d/dx ; function: x e ax

d
dx
(
x e ax ) = e ax a x e ax

2
b.) operator: ; function: 4 x + 9

2
The result is 4 x + 9 -- no further simplification can be done.

2 2
c.) operator: d / dx ; function: x sin 3x

d2 d
2 (
x sin 3x ) = (sin 3x + 3x cos 3x)
dx
dx
= 3cos 3x + 3cos 3x 9x sin 3x
= 6 cos 3x 9x sin 3x .


2. Consider two operators, A = x and B = d / dx . For the function f (x) = x e ax , where a is a constant,
calculate the following quantities.

a.) A B f( x )

d
A B f ( x ) = x x e ax ( )
dx
(
= x e ax a x e ax )
A B f ( x ) = x e ax a x 2 e ax .

b.) B A f ( x )

d
B A f ( x ) = x x e ax( )
dx

d
=
dx
(
x 2 e ax )
B A f ( x ) = 2x e ax a x 2 e ax .

2. Continued

c.) Are the results from parts (a) and (b) the same? If the results are not the same, it is said that
the two operators do not commute.

No, in this case, the results are not the same. That is, A B f ( x ) B A f ( x ) . Therefore, the
operators A and B do not commute.


2
3. Which of the following functions are eigenfunctions of d/dx? e ikx , cos kx, kx, e ax . In these
functions, k and a are constants. For those functions that are eigenfunctions, give the eigenvalues.

(a) d ikx
e = ike ikx
dx
ikx
The function e is an eigenfunction of d/dx with eigenvalue ik.

(b) d
cos kx = k sin kx
dx

The function cos kx is not an eigenfunction of d/dx.


d
(c) kx = k
dx

The function kx is not an eigenfunction of d/dx.


d ax 2 2
(d) e = 2ax e ax
dx

ax2
The function e is not an eigenfunction of d/dx.

2 2 2
4. Demonstrate whether or not the function f (x) = e ax is an eigenfunction of d / dx . If the function is an
eigenfunction, give the eigenvalue.

The first derivative is d e ax 2 = 2ax e ax 2 .


dx
2
The second derivative is d e ax 2 = 4a 2 x 2 2a e ax 2 .
dx 2
( )
2
Since this result does not equal a constant times the original function, f (x) = e ax is NOT an eigenfunction of
2 2
the operator d / dx .



3

5. For a particle moving in three dimensions, the classical expression for the kinetic energy T is given by:

1
T=
2m
( )
px2 + py2 + pz2 .

Give the corresponding expression for the quantum mechanical kinetic energy operator in three
dimensions, T .

To convert a classical component of momentum, p , where = x, y,or z , into a quantum mechanical operator
p
, we use the relation:

d .
p = i!
d

For the momentum squared (as appears in the kinetic energy expression), we therefore have:

d2 .
p2 = ! 2
d 2

Substituting these momentum operators, the quantum mechanical kinetic energy operator T becomes:

1 # 2 d2 2 d
2
2 d
2 &

T = %! ! ! (,
2m $ dx 2 dy 2 dz 2 '

and factoring out the ! 2 terms gives:



!2 # d 2 d2 d 2 &.
T = % 2 + + (
2m $ dx dy 2 dz 2 '

Since T involves three variables rather than just one, it is more appropriate to use partial derivatives:

!2 $ 2 2 2 '.
T = & 2 + 2
+ )
2m % x y z 2 (


6. Indicate which functions are acceptable wavefunctions:

x 2 - not acceptable (goes to as x )

ex - not acceptable (goes to as x )



e x - not acceptable (goes to as x )

2
eax - acceptable

$ n x '
7. Normalize the function (x) = sin& ) , where n is a positive integer and a is a constant. The range of x
% a (
is 0 to a. (You will have to look up the integral in a table.)

For a normalized wavefunction norm , the integral over all space must be equal to 1.

Let norm = N , where N is the normalization constant. For this problem, the range of the coordinate x is 0 to
a. Therefore, for normalization we require:

a
0
2
norm (x) dx = 1 .

a
Substituting norm = N leads to N
2
0

2 (x) dx = 1 .

$ n x ' a # nx &
Substituting (x) = sin&
% a (
) , we have N
2
0
sin 2 %
$ a '
( dx = 1 . To evaluate the integral, we can look it up
in a table. From the CRC,

x sin2bx
sin bx dx
2
=
2

4b
.

n
By making the substitution b = , we obtain:
a

a
a $ nx ' +x a $ 2nx '.

0
sin 2 &
% a (
) dx = -
,2
sin&
4n % a (/0
)0 .

Evaluating at the limits yields:


a $ nx ' $a a ' $ a '
0
sin 2 &
% a (
) dx = &
%2 4n
sin( 2n ) ) & 0
( % 4n
sin( 0) ) .
(

Note that since sin2n = 0 and sin0 = 0 , the first and last terms drop out, and we are left with
a $ nx ' a

0
sin 2 &
% a (
) dx =
2
.

a # nx &
Finally, substituting this result into the normalization condition, N
2
0
sin 2 %
$ a '
( dx = 1 , we have

"a% 2
N 2 $ ' = 1 , or N = .
#2& a

Therefore, the normalized wavefunction norm is given by:



2 $ nx '
norm = sin& ).
a % a (

8. Is the function in problem 7 an eigenfunction of p x ?

d
Since p x = i! , the eigenvalue equation would be:
dx

d
p x (x) = i! (x)
dx

d % nx (
= i! sin' *
dx & a )
% n ( % nx (
p x (x) = i!' * cos' *
& a ) & a )

Since the right side is not equal to a constant times the original function, (x) is NOT an eigenfunction of the
operator p x .