Anda di halaman 1dari 78

Chapter 9

Quantum Mechanics

It is strange yet successful Contradictory Yet fundamental Mysterious Yet intellectual Unreal Yet very very real

What is it?

Quantum Mechanics
The most successful theory that humanity has ever developed; the brightest jewel in our intellectual crown
D. F. Styer

But why is everybody avoiding it?

Because ...

Niels Bohr 1927 said: Anyone who is not shocked by quantum mechanics has not understood it

Richard Feynmann 1967 said: I can safely said that nobody understands it

Murray Gellman said: Nobody feel perfectly comfortable with it

Classical Mechanics vs Quantum Mechanics


Classical mechanics is the mechanics of everyday objects like tables and chairs 1. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. 2. Force equals mass times acceleration 3. For every action there is an equal and Sir Isaac Newton opposite reaction.


Classical mechanics reigned as the dominant theory of mechanics for centuries

1687 Newtons Philosophiae Mathematica

1788 Lagranges Mecanique Analytique 1834 Hamiltonian mechanics 1864 Maxwells equations 1900 Boltzmanns entropy equation

However, several experiments at the beginning of the 20th -century defied explanation

The Ultraviolet Catastrophe

The Stern-Gerlach Experiment

The Hydrogen Spectrum

Newtonian explanations for these phenomena were wildly insufficient


Stern-Gerlach experiment Otto Stern wanted to test the quantization of the angular momentum L in atoms by testing the quantization of the magnetic moment it would imply. He shot atoms through an asymmetric magnetic field. If the atoms have magnetic moment of 1 Bohr magneton, the beam should split into three parts as the magnetic force depends on the direction of the magnetic moment. Stern and Walther Gerlach so the splitting of the beam in 1922 using silver atoms.

The splitting is actually due to the internal angular momentum, the spin

Quantum mechanics was developed to explain these results and developed into the most successful physical theory in history
1900 Plancks constant

Increasing weirdness

1913 Bohrs model of the atom 1925 Pauli exclusion principle 1926 Schrodinger equation 1948 Feynmanns path integral formulation 1954 Everetts many-world theory


Although quantum mechanics applies to all objects, the effects of quantum mechanics are most noticeable only for very small objects
How small is very small? 1 meter 1 millimeter 1 micrometer Looks classical Looks classical Looks classical

1 nanometer

Looks quantum!

Nonetheless, quantum mechanics is still very important.

How important is very important? Without quantum mechanics: Many biological reactions would not occur. Chemical bonding would be impossible. All atoms would be unstable. Life does not exist All molecules disintegrate Universe explodes


The quantum mechanics worlds is VERY different

Energy not continuous, But can take on only particular discrete values. Light has particle-like properties, so that light can bounce off objects just like balls Particles also have wave-like properties, so two particles can interfere just like light does. Physics is not deterministic, but events occur with a probability determined by quantum mechanics

Wave Particle Duality


Position x Mass m Momentum p = mv



Amplitude A

Frequency f
number of cycles per second


Waves versus Particles

A particle is localized in space, and has discrete physical properties such as mass A wave is inherently spread out over many wave-lengths in space, and could have amplitudes in a continuous range Waves superpose and pass through each other, while particles collide and bounce off each other






de Broglie
All matter, usually thought of as particles, should exhibit wave-like behaviour Implies that electrons, neutrons, etc., are waves!

Prince Louis de Broglie (1892-1987)


de Broglie Wavelength

Relates a particle-like property (p) to a wave-like property ( )


Wave-Particle Duality
particle wave function


Example: de Broglie wavelength of

an electron
Mass = 9.11 x 10-31 kg Speed = 106 m / sec This wavelength is in the region of Xrays

Example: de Broglie wavelength of

a ball
Mass = 1 kg Speed = 1 m / sec This is extremely small! Thus, it is very difficult to observe the wave-like behaviour of ordinary objects

Particle-like Behavior of Light

Plancks explanation of blackbody radiation Einsteins explanation of photoelectric effect


The Photoelectric Effect

The photoelectric effect is the emission of electrons from matter upon the absorption of electromagnetic radiation, such as ultraviolet radiation or x-rays


Photoelectric Effect

When blue light is shone on the emitter plate, a current flows in the circuit


Photoelectric Effect (contd)

But for red light, no current flows in the circuit


Experimental Observations
Only light with a frequency greater than a certain threshold will produce a current Current begins almost instantaneously, even for light of very low intensity Current is proportional to the intensity of the incident light


Problems with Wave Theory of Light

The wave theory of light is unable to explain these observations For waves, energy depends on amplitude and not frequency This implies that a current should be produced when say, high-intensity red light is used

Einsteins Explanation
Light consists of particles, now known as photons A photon hitting the emitter plate will eject an electron if it has enough energy Each photon has energy: E = hf (same as Plancks formula)


Albert Einstein won a Nobel Prize for his work on the photoelectric effect and not his theory of relativity!


Everyday Evidence for Photons

Red light is used in photographic darkrooms because it is not energetic enough to break the halogen-silver bond in black and white films Ultraviolet light causes sunburn but visible light does not because UV photons are more energetic Our eyes detect colour because photons of different energies trigger different chemical reactions in retina cells


Quantum Mechanics Postulates


The laws of quantum mechanics are founded upon several fundamental postulates
The Fundamental Postulates of Quantum Mechanics: 1. Postulate 1: All information about a system is provided by the systems wave function. Postulate 2: The motion of a nonrelativistic particle is governed by the Schrodinger equation Postulate 3: Measurement of a system is associated with a linear, Hermitian operator


Postulate 1: All information about a system is provided by the systems wave function.

Interesting facts about the wave function: 1. The wave function can be positive, negative, or complex-valued. 2. The squared amplitude of the wave function at position x is equal to the probability of observing the particle at position x. 3. The wave function can change with time. 4. The existence of a wave function implies particle-wave duality.


Wave Function
Completely describes all the properties of a given particle Called = (x,t); is a complex function of position x and time t What is the meaning of this wave function?

Copenhagen Interpretation:
probability waves
The quantity | | 2 is interpreted as the probability that the particle can be found at a particular point x and a particular time t The act of measurement collapses the wave function and turns it into a particle

Neils Bohr (1885-1962)


The Weirdness of Postulate 1: Quantum particles are usually delocalized, meaning they do not have a well-specified position
Classical particle
Position = x

Quantum particle
Wavefunction = (x)

The particle is here.

With some high probability, the particle is probably somewhere around here

The Weirdness of Postulate 1: At a given instant in time, the position and momentum of a particle cannot both be known with absolute certainty
Classical particle Hello, my name is: Classical particle Quantum particle
Wavefunction = (x)
I can tell you my exact position, but then I cant tell you my momentum. I can tell you my exact momentum, but then I cant tell you my position. I can give you a pretty good estimate of my position, but then I have to give you a bad estimate of my momentum. I can

my position is 11.2392Ang my momentum is -23.1322 m/s

? ?? ? This consequence is known as Heisenbergs uncertainty principle


The Weirdness of Postulate 1: a particle can be put into a superposition of multiple states at once
Classical elephant: Valid states:
Gray Gray Multicolored

Quantum elephant: Valid states:


Gray AND Multicolored


Postulate 2: The motion of a nonrelativistic particle is governed by the Schrdinger equation

Time-dependent S.E.: Time-independent S.E.: Molecular S.E.:
Interesting facts about the Schrdinger Equation: 1. It is a wave equation whose solutions display interference effects. 2. It implies that time evolution is unitary and therefore reversible. 3. It is very, very difficult to solve for large systems (i.e. more than three particles).

The Weirdness of Postulate 2: A quantum mechanical particle can tunnel through barriers rather than going over them.
Classical ball Quantum ball

Classical ball does not have enough energy to climb hill.

Quantum ball tunnels through hill despite insufficient energy.


This effect is the basis for the scanning tunneling electron microscope (STEM)

The Weirdness of Postulate 2: Quantum particles take all paths.

Classical mouse Quantum mouse

Classical particles take a single path specified by Newtons equations.

The Schrodinger equation indicates that there is a nonzero probability for a particle to take any path

This consequence is stated rigorously in Feymnanns path integral 48 formulation of quantum mechanics

Postulate 3: Measurement of a quantum mechanical system is associated with some linear, Hermitian operator .

Interesting facts about the measurement postulate: 1.It implies that certain properties can only achieve a discrete set of measured values 2. It implies that measurement is inherently probabilistic. 3.It implies that measurement necessarily alters the observed system.

The Weirdness of Postulate 3: Even if the exact wave function is known, the outcome of measurement is inherently probabilistic
Classical Elephant: Before measurement or After measurement For a known state, outcome is deterministic. For a known state, outcome is probabilistic.

Quantum Elephant:

The Weirdness of Postulate 3: Measurement necessarily alters the observed system

Classical Elephant: Quantum Elephant:

Before measurement

After measurement State of the system is unchanged by measurement. Measurement changes the state of the system.

The Weirdness of Postulate 3: Properties are actions to be performed, not labels to be read
Classical Elephant:
Position = here Color = grey Size = large

Quantum Elephant:


The position of an object exists independently of measurement and is simply read by the observer

Position is an action performed on an object which produces some particular result

In other words, properties like position or momentum do not exist 52 ) independent of measurement! (*unless yourea neorealist

Determinism of Classical Mechanics

Suppose the positions and speeds of all particles in the universe are measured to sufficient accuracy at a particular instant in time It is possible to predict the motions of every particle at any time in the future (or in the past for that matter)


Role of an Observer
The observer is objective and passive Physical events happen independently of whether there is an observer or not This is known as objective reality


Role of an Observer in Quantum Mechanics

The observer is not objective and passive The act of observation changes the physical system irrevocably This is known as subjective reality


Heisenberg realised that ...

In the world of very small particles, one cannot measure any property of a particle without interacting with it in some way This introduces an unavoidable uncertainty into the result One can never measure all the properties exactly
Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976)

Measuring the position and momentum of an electron

Shine light on electron and detect reflected light using a microscope Minimum uncertainty in position is given by the wavelength of the light So to determine the position accurately, it is necessary to use light with a short wavelength


Measuring the position and momentum of an electron (contd)

By Plancks law E = hc/ , a photon with a short wavelength has a large energy Thus, it would impart a large kick to the electron But to determine its momentum accurately, electron must only be given a small kick This means using light of long wavelength!

Fundamental Trade Off

Use light with short wavelength:
accurate measurement of position but not momentum

Use light with long wavelength:

accurate measurement of momentum but not position


Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle


Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle

The more accurately you know the position (i.e., the smaller x is) , the less accurately you know the momentum (i.e., the larger p is); and vice versa


It is impossible to know both the position and momentum exactly, i.e., x=0 and p=0 These uncertainties are inherent in the physical world and have nothing to do with the skill of the observer Because h is so small, these uncertainties are not observable in normal everyday situations

Example of Baseball
A pitcher throws a 0.1-kg baseball at 40 m/s So momentum is 0.1 x 40 = 4 kg m/s Suppose the momentum is measured to an accuracy of 1 percent , i.e., p = 0.01 p = 4 x 10-2 kg m/s The uncertainty in position is then 2 No wonder one does not observe the effects of the uncertainty principle in everyday life!

Example of Electron
Same situation, but baseball replaced by an electron which has mass 9.11 x 10-31 kg So momentum = 3.6 x 10-29 kg m/s and its uncertainty = 3.6 x 10-31 kg m/s The uncertainty in position is then


Another Consequence of Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle

A quantum particle can never be in a state of rest, as this would mean we know both its position and momentum precisely Thus, the carriage will be jiggling around the bottom of the valley forever


Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle involving energy and time

2 The more accurately we know the energy of a body, the less accurately we know how long it possessed that energy The energy can be known with perfect precision ( E = 0), only if the measurement is made over an infinite period of time ( t = )

Quantum Mechanics Weirdness


In the one-slit experiment, particles that pass through the single slit produce an image on the detector
The One Slit Experiment
Gaussian distribution of detected particles

Detector Particle emitter Particles

What happens if we use two slits instead of only one?


If we use two slits, we might expect to obtain the sum of two single-slit distributions
The Two Slit Experiment
Expected result: sum of two Gaussians

Detector Particle emitter Particles

Warning: the expected result presented by this slide is patently false


but in reality, we obtain an interference pattern.

The Two Slit Experiment
Actual result: interference pattern.

Detector Particle emitter Particles

Question: Is this a quantum phenomenon?


but an even cleverer physicist can test this hypothesis by configuring the emitter to emit the particles one at a time
The Two Slit Experiment

Detector Particle emitter

Result: Interference pattern remains!


Interference Pattern of Electrons

Determines the probability of an electron arriving at a certain spot on the screen After many electrons, resembles the interference pattern of light

Electron interference pattern after (a) 8 electrons, (b) 270 electrons, (c) 2000 electrons, and (d) 6000 electrons


The quantum mechanical explanation is that each particle passes through both slits and interferes with itself
The Quantum Explanation
Superposition state


The wave function of each particle is a probability wave which produces a probability interference pattern when it passes through the two slits.


If a measurement device is placed on one of the slits, then the interference pattern disappears
Curioser and Curioser
Measurement device



The measurement device has collapsed the wave function, leading to a loss of interference
Curioser and Curioser
Measuring device

Wavefunction collapse!




Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) Paradox

Decay of pion Electron and positron have opposite spins


Einstein suggested that there are hidden variables that actually determine the destiny of each particle. 77

EPR Paradox (contd)

Let the electron and positron fly very far apart Measure the spin of one of them, say the electron This would instantaneously determine the spin of the positron Experimentally verified by Aspect (1982)