Klein Gordon equation

Hamiltonian for the non-homogeneous Klein-Gordon equation

October 25, 2018 phy2403 No comments , , ,

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In class we derived the field for the non-homogeneous Klein-Gordon equation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:20}
\begin{aligned}
\phi(x)
&= \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2\pi)^3} \inv{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
\evalbar{
\lr{
e^{-i p \cdot x} \lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{ i \tilde{j}(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
+
e^{i p \cdot x} \lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{ i \tilde{j}^\conj(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
}
}
{
p^0 = \omega_\Bp
} \\
&= \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2\pi)^3} \inv{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
\lr{
e^{-i \omega_\Bp t + i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{ i \tilde{j}(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
+
e^{i \omega_\Bp t – i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{ i \tilde{j}^\conj(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
This means that we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:40}
\begin{aligned}
\pi = \dot{\phi}
&= \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2\pi)^3} \frac{i \omega_\Bp}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
\lr{
– e^{-i \omega_\Bp t + i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{ i \tilde{j}(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
+
e^{i \omega_\Bp t – i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{ i \tilde{j}^\conj(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
} \\
(\spacegrad \phi)_k =
&= \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2\pi)^3} \frac{i p_k}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
\lr{
e^{-i \omega_\Bp t + i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{ i \tilde{j}(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }

e^{i \omega_\Bp t – i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{ i \tilde{j}^\conj(p) }{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
and could plug these into the Hamiltonian
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:60}
H = \int d^3 p \lr{ \inv{2} \pi^2 + \inv{2} \lr{ \spacegrad \phi}^2 + \frac{m^2}{2} \phi^2 },
\end{equation}
to find \( H \) in terms of \( \tilde{j} \) and \( a_\Bp^\dagger, a_\Bp \). The result was mentioned in class, and it was left as an exercise to verify.

There’s an easy way and a dumb way to do this exercise. I did it the dumb way, and then after suffering through two long pages, where the equations were so long that I had to write on the paper sideways, I realized the way I should have done it.

The easy way is to observe that we’ve already done exactly this for the case \( \tilde{j} = 0 \), which had the answer
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:80}
H = \inv{2} \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2 \pi)^3} \omega_\Bp \lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger a_\Bp + a_\Bp a_\Bp^\dagger }.
\end{equation}
To handle this more general case, all we have to do is apply a transformation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:100}
a_\Bp \rightarrow
a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}},
\end{equation}
to \ref{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:80}, which gives
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:120}
\begin{aligned}
H
&=
\inv{2} \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2 \pi)^3} \omega_\Bp \lr{\lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }^\dagger\lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} } +\lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }\lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }^\dagger } \\
&=
\inv{2} \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2 \pi)^3} \omega_\Bp \lr{\lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{i \tilde{j}^\conj(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} } \lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} } +\lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }\lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{i \tilde{j}^\conj(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Like the \( \tilde{j} = 0 \) case, we can use normal ordering. This is easily seen by direct expansion:
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:140}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{i \tilde{j}^\conj(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} } \lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
&=
a_\Bp^\dagger a_\Bp
– \frac{i \tilde{j}^\conj(p) a_\Bp}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
+ \frac{ a_\Bp^\dagger i \tilde{j}^\conj(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
+ \frac{\Abs{j}^2}{2 \omega_\Bp} \\
\lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }\lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{i \tilde{j}^\conj(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} }
&=
a_\Bp^\dagger a_\Bp
+ \frac{i \tilde{j}^\conj(p) a_\Bp^\dagger}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
– \frac{ a_\Bp i \tilde{j}^\conj(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}
+ \frac{\Abs{j}^2}{2 \omega_\Bp}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Because \( \tilde{j} \) is just a complex valued function, it commutes with \( a_\Bp, a_\Bp^\dagger \), and these are equal up to the normal ordering, allowing us to write
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:nonhomoKGhamiltonian:160}
:H: =
\int \frac{d^3 p}{(2 \pi)^3} \omega_\Bp \lr{ a_\Bp^\dagger – \frac{i \tilde{j}^\conj(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}}} \lr{ a_\Bp + \frac{i \tilde{j}(p)}{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} },
\end{equation}
which is the result mentioned in class.

PHY2403H Quantum Field Theory. Lecture 5: Klein-Gordon equation, Hamilton’s equations, SHOs, momentum space representation, raising and lowering operators. Taught by Prof. Erich Poppitz

September 25, 2018 phy2403 No comments , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: Very rough notes from class. Some additional side notes, but otherwise barely edited.

These are notes for the UofT course PHY2403H, Quantum Field Theory I, taught by Prof. Erich Poppitz fall 2018.

Canonical quantization

Last time we introduced a Lagrangian density associated with the Klein-Gordon equation (with a quadratic potential coupling)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:20}
L = \int d^3 x
\lr{
\inv{2} \lr{\partial_0 \phi}^2 – \inv{2} \lr{\spacegrad \phi}^2 – \frac{m^2}{2} \phi^2 – \frac{\lambda}{4} \phi^4
}.
\end{equation}
This Lagrangian density was related to the action by
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:40}
S = \int dt L = \int dt d^3 x \LL,
\end{equation}
with momentum canonically conjugate to the field \( \phi \) defined as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:60}
\Pi(\Bx, t) = \frac{\delta \LL}{\delta \phidot(\Bx, t) } = \PD{\phidot(\Bx, t)}{\LL}
\end{equation}

The Hamiltonian defined as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:80}
H = \int d^3 x \lr{ \Pi(\Bx, t) \phidot(\Bx, t) – \LL },
\end{equation}
led to
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:680}
H
= \int d^3 x
\lr{ \inv{2} \Pi^2 + (\spacegrad \phi)^2 + \inv{2} m^2 \phi^2 + \frac{\lambda}{4} \phi^4 }.
\end{equation}
Like the Lagrangian density, we may introduce a Hamiltonian density \( \mathcal{H} \) as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:100}
H = \int d^3 x \mathcal{H}(\Bx, t).
\end{equation}
For our Klein-Gordon system, this is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:120}
\mathcal{H}(\Bx, t) =
\inv{2} \Pi^2 + (\spacegrad \phi)^2 + \inv{2} m^2 \phi^2 + \frac{\lambda}{4} \phi^4.
\end{equation}

Canonical Commutation Relations (CCR)

:

We quantize the system by promoting our fields to Heisenberg-Picture (HP) operators, and imposing commutation relations
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:140}
\antisymmetric{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx, t)}{\hat{\phi}(\By, t)} = -i \delta^3 (\Bx – \By)
\end{equation}

This is in analogy to
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:160}
\antisymmetric{\hat{p}_i}{\hat{q}_j} = -i \delta_{ij},
\end{equation}

To choose a representation, we may map the \( \Psi \) of QM \( \rightarrow \) to a wave functional \( \Psi[\phi] \)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:180}
\hat{\phi}(\By, t) \Psi[\phi] = \phi(\By, t) \Psi[\phi]
\end{equation}

This is similar to the QM wave functions
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:200}
\begin{aligned}
\hat{q}_i \Psi(\setlr{q}) &= q_i \Psi(q) \\
\hat{p}_i \Psi(\setlr{q}) &= -i \PD{q_i}{} \Psi(p)
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Our momentum operator is quantized by expressing it in terms of a variational derivative
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:220}
\hat{\Pi}(\Bx, t) = -i \frac{\delta}{\delta \phi(\Bx, t)}.
\end{equation}
(Fixme: I’m not really sure exactly what is meant by using the variation derivative \(\delta\) notation here), and to
quantize the Hamiltonian we just add hats, assuming that our fields are all now HP operators
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:240}
\hat{\mathcal{H}}(\Bx, t)
=
\inv{2} \hat{\Pi}^2 + (\spacegrad \hat{\phi})^2 + \inv{2} m^2 \hat{\phi}^2 + \frac{\lambda}{4} \hat{\phi}^4.
\end{equation}

QM SHO review

Recall the QM SHO had a Hamiltonian
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:260}
\hat{H} = \inv{2} \hat{p}^2 + \inv{2} \omega^2 \hat{q}^2,
\end{equation}
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:280}
\antisymmetric{\hat{p}}{\hat{q}} = -i,
\end{equation}
and that
HP time evolution operators \( O \) satisfied
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:700}
\ddt{\hatO} = i \antisymmetric{\hatH}{\hatO}.
\end{equation}
In particular
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:300}
\begin{aligned}
\ddt{\hat{p}}
&= i \antisymmetric{\hat{H}}{\hatp} \\
&= i \frac{\omega^2}{2} \antisymmetric{\hat{q}^2}{\hatp} \\
&= i \frac{\omega^2}{2} (2 i \hat{q}) \\
&= -i \omega^2 \hat{q},
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:320}
\begin{aligned}
\ddt{\hat{q}}
&= i \antisymmetric{\hat{H}}{\hat{q}} \\
&= i \inv{2} \antisymmetric{\hatp^2}{\hat{q}} \\
&= \frac{i}{2}(-2 i \hatp ) \\
&= \hatp.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Applying the time evolution operator twice, we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:340}
\frac{d^2}{dt^2}{\hat{q}}
= \ddt{\hat{p}}
= – \omega^2 \hat{q}.
\end{equation}
We see that the Heisenberg operators obey the classical equations of motion.

Now we want to try this with the quantized QFT fields we’ve promoted to operators
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:360}
\begin{aligned}
\ddt{\hat{\Pi}}(\Bx, t)
&= i \antisymmetric{\hatH}{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx, t)} \\
&=
i \int d^3 y \inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \lr{\spacegrad \phihat(\By) }^2 }{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) }
+
i \int d^3 y \frac{m^2}{2} \antisymmetric{ \phihat(\By)^2 }{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) }
+
i \frac{\lambda}{4} \int d^3 \antisymmetric{ \phihat(\By)^4 }{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) }
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

Starting with the non-gradient commutators, and utilizing the HP field analogues of the relations \( \antisymmetric{\hat{q}^n}{\hatp} = n i \hat{q}^{n-1} \), we find
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:780}
\int d^3 y \antisymmetric{ \lr{ \phihat(\By) }^2 }{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) }
=
\int d^3 y 2 i \phihat(\By) \delta^3(\Bx – \By)
= 2 i \phihat(\Bx).
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:740}
\int d^3 y \antisymmetric{ \lr{ \phihat(\By) }^4 }{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) }
=
\int d^3 y 4 i \phihat(\By)^3 \delta^3(\Bx – \By)
= 4 i \phihat(\Bx)^3.
\end{equation}
For the gradient commutators, we have more work. Prof Poppitz blitzed through that, just calling it integration by parts. I had trouble seeing what he was doing, so here’s a more explicit dumb expansion required to calculate the commutator
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:720}
\begin{aligned}
\int d^3 y (\spacegrad \phihat(\By))^2 \hat{\Pi}(\Bx)
&=
\int d^3 y
\lr{ \spacegrad \phihat(\By) \cdot \spacegrad \phihat(\By) } \hat{\Pi}(\Bx) \\
&=
\int d^3 y
\spacegrad \phihat(\By) \cdot
\lr{ \spacegrad (\phihat(\By) \hat{\Pi}(\Bx)) } \\
&=
\int d^3 y
\spacegrad \phihat(\By) \cdot
\lr{ \spacegrad (\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) \phihat(\By) + i \delta^3(\Bx – \By)) } \\
&=
\int d^3 y
\Biglr{
\spacegrad \lr{ \phihat(\By) \hat{\Pi}(\Bx) } \cdot \spacegrad \phihat(\By)
+ i
\spacegrad \phihat(\By) \cdot \spacegrad \delta^3(\Bx – \By)
} \\
&=
\int d^3 y
\Biglr{
\spacegrad \lr{ \hat{\Pi}(\Bx) \phihat(\By) + i \delta^3(\Bx – \By) } \cdot \spacegrad \phihat(\By)
+ i
\spacegrad \phihat(\By) \cdot \spacegrad \delta^3(\Bx – \By)
} \\
&=
\int d^3 y
\hat{\Pi}(\Bx)
\lr{
\spacegrad \phihat(\By) \cdot \spacegrad \phihat(\By)
}
+ 2 i
\int d^3 y
\spacegrad \phihat(\By) \cdot \spacegrad \delta^3(\Bx – \By) \\
&=
\int d^3 y
\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) \spacegrad^2 \phihat(\By)
+
2 i
\int d^3 y
\spacegrad \cdot \lr{ \delta^3(\Bx – \By) \spacegrad \phihat(\By) }

2 i
\int d^3 y
\delta^3(\Bx – \By) \spacegrad^2 \phihat(\By) \\
&=
\int d^3 y
\hat{\Pi}(\Bx) \spacegrad^2 \phihat(\By)
+
2 i
\int_\partial d^2 y
\delta^3(\Bx – \By)
\ncap \cdot \spacegrad \phihat(\By)

2 i \spacegrad^2 \phihat(\Bx).
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Here we take advantage of the fact that the derivative operators \( \spacegrad = \spacegrad_\By \) commute with \( \hat{\Pi}(\Bx) \), and use the identity
\( \spacegrad \cdot (a \spacegrad b) = (\spacegrad a) \cdot (\spacegrad b) + a \spacegrad^2 b \), so the commutator is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:800}
\begin{aligned}
\int d^3 y \antisymmetric{(\spacegrad \phihat(\By))^2}{\hat{\Pi}(\Bx)}
&=
2 i
\int_\partial d^2 y
\delta^3(\Bx – \By)
\ncap \cdot \spacegrad \phihat(\By)

2 i \spacegrad^2 \phihat(\Bx) \\
&=

2 i \spacegrad^2 \phihat(\Bx),
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
where the boundary integral is presumed to be zero (without enough justification.) All the pieces can now be put back together
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:820}
\ddt{} \hat{\Pi}(\Bx, t)
=
\spacegrad^2 \phihat(\Bx, t)

m^2 \phihat(\Bx, t)

\lambda \phihat^3(\Bx, t).
\end{equation}

Now, for the \( \phihat \) time evolution, which is much easier
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:380}
\begin{aligned}
\ddt{\hat{\phi}}(\Bx, t)
&= i \antisymmetric{\hatH}{\hat{\phi}(\Bx, t)} \\
&= i \inv{2} \int d^3 y \antisymmetric{\hat{\Pi}^2(\By)}{\hat{\phi}(\Bx)} \\
&= i \inv{2} \int d^3 y (-2 i) \hat{\Pi}(\By, t) \delta^3(\Bx – \By) \\
&= \hat{\Pi}(\Bx, t)
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:400}
\frac{d^2}{dt^2}{\hat{\phi}}(\Bx, t)
=
\spacegrad^2 \phi
-m^2 \phi – \lambda \phihat^3.
\end{equation}
That is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:420}
\ddot{\phihat} – \spacegrad^2 \phihat + m^2 \phihat + \lambda \phihat^3 = 0,
\end{equation}
which is the classical Euler-Lagrange equation, also obeyed by the Heisenberg operator \( \phi(\Bx, t) \). When \( \lambda = 0 \) this is the Klein-Gordon equation.

Momentum space representation.

Dropping hats, we now consider the momentum space representation of our operators, as determined by Fourier transform pairs
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:440}
\begin{aligned}
\phi(\Bx, t) &= \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2\pi)^3} e^{i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t) \\
\tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t) &= \int d^3 x e^{-i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \phi(\Bx, t)
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

We can discover a representation of the delta function by applying these both in turn
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:480}
\tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t)
= \int d^3 x e^{-i \Bp \cdot \Bx} \int \frac{d^3 q}{(2 \pi)^3} e^{i \Bq \cdot \Bx} \tilde{\phi}(\Bq, t)
\end{equation}
so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:500}
\boxed{
\int d^3 x e^{i \BA \cdot \Bx} = (2 \pi)^3 \delta^3(\BA)
}
\end{equation}

Also observe that \( \phi^\conj(\Bx, t) = \phi(\Bx, t) \) iff \( \tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t) = \tilde{\phi}^\conj(-\Bp, t) \).

We want the EOM for \( \tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t) \) where the operator obeys the KG equation
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:520}
\lr{ \partial_t^2 – \spacegrad^2 + m^2 } \phi(\Bx, t) = 0
\end{equation}

Inserting the transform relation \ref{eqn:qftLecture5:440} we get
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:540}
\int \frac{d^3 p}{(2 \pi)^3} e^{i \Bp \cdot \Bx}
\lr{
\ddot{\tilde{\phi}}(\Bp, t) + \lr{ \Bp^2 + m^2 }
\tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t)
}
= 0,
\end{equation}
or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:580}
\boxed{
\ddot{\tilde{\phi}}(\Bp, t) = – \omega_\Bp^2 \,\tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t),
}
\end{equation}
where
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:560}
\omega_\Bp = \sqrt{ \Bp^2 + m^2 }.
\end{equation}
The Fourier components of the HP operators are SHOs!

As we have SHO’s and know how to deal with these in QM, we use the same strategy, introducing raising and lowering operators
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:600}
\tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t) = \inv{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} \lr{ e^{-i \omega_\Bp t } a_\Bp + e^{i \omega_\Bp t} a^\dagger_{-\Bp}
}
\end{equation}

Observe that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:840}
\begin{aligned}
\tilde{\phi}^\dagger(-\Bp, t)
&= \inv{\sqrt{2 \omega_\Bp}} \lr{ e^{i \omega_\Bp t } a^\dagger_{-\Bp} + e^{-i \omega_\Bp t} a_{\Bp} } \\
&=
\tilde{\phi}(\Bp, t),
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:620}
\tilde{\phi}^\dagger(\Bp, t) = \tilde{\phi}(-\Bp, t),
\end{equation}
so \( \phi(\Bp, t) \) has a real representation in terms of \( a_\Bp \).

We will find (Wednesday) that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:640}
\antisymmetric{a_\Bq}{a^+_\Bp} = \delta^3(\Bp – \Bq) (2 \pi)^3.
\end{equation}

These are equivalent to
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture5:660}
\antisymmetric{\hat{\Pi}(\By, t)}{\tilde{\phi}(\Bx, t)} = -i \delta^3(\Bx – \By)
\end{equation}

PHY2403H Quantum Field Theory. Lecture 4: Scalar action, least action principle, Euler-Lagrange equations for a field, canonical quantization. Taught by Prof. Erich Poppitz

September 23, 2018 phy2403 No comments , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

DISCLAIMER: Very rough notes from class. May have some additional side notes, but otherwise probably barely edited.

These are notes for the UofT course PHY2403H, Quantum Field Theory I, taught by Prof. Erich Poppitz fall 2018.

Principles (cont.)

  • Lorentz (Poincar\’e : Lorentz and spacetime translations)
  • locality
  • dimensional analysis
  • gauge invariance

These are the requirements for an action. We postulated an action that had the form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:20}
\int d^d x \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi,
\end{equation}
called the “Kinetic term”, which mimics \( \int dt \dot{q}^2 \) that we’d see in quantum or classical mechanics. In principle there exists an infinite number of local Poincar\’e invariant terms that we can write. Examples:

  • \( \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi \)
  • \( \partial_\mu \phi \partial_\nu \partial^\nu \partial^\mu \phi \)
  • \( \lr{\partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi}^2 \)
  • \( f(\phi) \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi \)
  • \( f(\phi, \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi) \)
  • \( V(\phi) \)

It turns out that nature (i.e. three spatial dimensions and one time dimension) is described by a finite number of terms. We will now utilize dimensional analysis to determine some of the allowed forms of the action for scalar field theories in \( d = 2, 3, 4, 5 \) dimensions. Even though the real world is only \( d = 4 \), some of the \( d < 4 \) theories are relevant in condensed matter studies, and \( d = 5 \) is just for fun (but also applies to string theories.)

With \( [x] \sim \inv{M} \) in natural units, we must define \([\phi]\) such that the kinetic term is dimensionless in d spacetime dimensions

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:40}
\begin{aligned}
[d^d x] &\sim \inv{M^d} \\
[\partial_\mu] &\sim M
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

so it must be that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:60}
[\phi] = M^{(d-2)/2}
\end{equation}

It will be easier to characterize the dimensionality of any given term by the power of the mass units, that is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:80}
\begin{aligned}
[\text{mass}] &= 1 \\
[d^d x] &= -d \\
[\partial_\mu] &= 1 \\
[\phi] &= (d-2)/2 \\
[S] &= 0.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
Since the action is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:100}
S = \int d^d x \lr{ \LL(\phi, \partial_\mu \phi) },
\end{equation}
and because action had dimensions of \( \Hbar \), so in natural units, it must be dimensionless, the Lagrangian density dimensions must be \( [d] \). We will abuse language in QFT and call the Lagrangian density the Lagrangian.

\( d = 2 \)

Because \( [\partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi ] = 2 \), the scalar field must be dimension zero, or in symbols
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:120}
[\phi] = 0.
\end{equation}
This means that introducing any function \( f(\phi) = 1 + a \phi + b\phi^2 + c \phi^3 + \cdots \) is also dimensionless, and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:140}
[f(\phi) \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi ] = 2,
\end{equation}
for any \( f(\phi) \). Another implication of this is that the a potential term in the Lagrangian \( [V(\phi)] = 0 \) needs a coupling constant of dimension 2. Letting \( \mu \) have mass dimensions, our Lagrangian must have the form
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:160}
f(\phi) \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi + \mu^2 V(\phi).
\end{equation}
An infinite number of coupling constants of positive mass dimensions for \( V(\phi) \) are also allowed. If we have higher order derivative terms, then we need to compensate for the negative mass dimensions. Example (still for \( d = 2 \)).
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:180}
\LL =
f(\phi) \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi + \mu^2 V(\phi) + \inv{{\mu’}^2}\partial_\mu \phi \partial_\nu \partial^\nu \partial^\mu \phi + \lr{ \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi }^2 \inv{\tilde{\mu}^2}.
\end{equation}
The last two terms, called \underline{couplings} (i.e. any non-kinetic term), are examples of terms with negative mass dimension. There is an infinite number of those in any theory in any dimension.

Definitions

  • Couplings that are dimensionless are called (classically) marginal.
  • Couplings that have positive mass dimension are called (classically) relevant.
  • Couplings that have negative mass dimension are called (classically) irrelevant.

In QFT we are generally interested in the couplings that are measurable at long distances for some given energy. Classically irrelevant theories are generally not interesting in \( d > 2 \), so we are very lucky that we don’t live in three dimensional space. This means that we can get away with a finite number of classically marginal and relevant couplings in 3 or 4 dimensions. This was mentioned in the Wilczek’s article referenced in the class forum [1]\footnote{There’s currently more in that article that I don’t understand than I do, so it is hard to find it terribly illuminating.}

Long distance physics in any dimension is described by the marginal and relevant couplings. The irrelevant couplings die off at low energy. In two dimensions, a priori, an infinite number of marginal and relevant couplings are possible. 2D is a bad place to live!

\( d = 3 \)

Now we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:200}
[\phi] = \inv{2}
\end{equation}
so that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:220}
[\partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi] = 3.
\end{equation}

A 3D Lagrangian could have local terms such as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:240}
\LL = \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi + m^2 \phi^2 + \mu^{3/2} \phi^3 + \mu’ \phi^4
+ \lr{\mu”}{1/2} \phi^5
+ \lambda \phi^6.
\end{equation}
where \( m, \mu, \mu” \) all have mass dimensions, and \( \lambda \) is dimensionless. i.e. \( m, \mu, \mu” \) are relevant, and \( \lambda \) marginal. We stop at the sixth power, since any power after that will be irrelevant.

\( d = 4 \)

Now we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:260}
[\phi] = 1
\end{equation}
so that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:280}
[\partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi] = 4.
\end{equation}

In this number of dimensions \( \phi^k \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \) is an irrelevant coupling.

A 4D Lagrangian could have local terms such as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:300}
\LL = \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi + m^2 \phi^2 + \mu \phi^3 + \lambda \phi^4.
\end{equation}
where \( m, \mu \) have mass dimensions, and \( \lambda \) is dimensionless. i.e. \( m, \mu \) are relevant, and \( \lambda \) is marginal.

\( d = 5 \)

Now we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:320}
[\phi] = \frac{3}{2},
\end{equation}
so that
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:340}
[\partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi] = 5.
\end{equation}

A 5D Lagrangian could have local terms such as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:360}
\LL = \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi + m^2 \phi^2 + \sqrt{\mu} \phi^3 + \inv{\mu’} \phi^4.
\end{equation}
where \( m, \mu, \mu’ \) all have mass dimensions. In 5D there are no marginal couplings. Dimension 4 is the last dimension where marginal couplings exist. In condensed matter physics 4D is called the “upper critical dimension”.

From the point of view of particle physics, all the terms in the Lagrangian must be the ones that are relevant at long distances.

Least action principle (classical field theory).

Now we want to study 4D scalar theories. We have some action
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:380}
S[\phi] = \int d^4 x \LL(\phi, \partial_\mu \phi).
\end{equation}

Let’s keep an example such as the following in mind
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:400}
\LL = \underbrace{\inv{2} \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi}_{\text{Kinetic term}} – \underbrace{m^2 \phi – \lambda \phi^4}_{\text{all relevant and marginal couplings}}.
\end{equation}
The even powers can be justified by assuming there is some symmetry that kills the odd powered terms.

fig. 1. Cylindrical spacetime boundary.

We will be integrating over a space time region such as that depicted in fig. 1, where a cylindrical spatial cross section is depicted that we allow to tend towards infinity. We demand that the field is fixed on the infinite spatial boundaries. The easiest way to demand that the field dies off on the spatial boundaries, that is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:420}
\lim_{\Abs{\Bx} \rightarrow \infty} \phi(\Bx) \rightarrow 0.
\end{equation}
The functional \( \phi(\Bx, t) \) that obeys the boundary condition as stated extremizes \( S[\phi] \).

Extremizing the action means that we seek \( \phi(\Bx, t) \)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:440}
\delta S[\phi] = 0 = S[\phi + \delta \phi] – S[\phi].
\end{equation}

How do we compute the variation?
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:460}
\begin{aligned}
\delta S
&= \int d^d x \lr{ \LL(\phi + \delta \phi, \partial_\mu \phi + \partial_\mu \delta \phi) – \LL(\phi, \partial_\mu \phi) } \\
&= \int d^d x \lr{ \PD{\phi}{\LL} \delta \phi + \PD{(\partial_mu \phi)}{\LL} (\partial_\mu \delta \phi) } \\
&= \int d^d x \lr{ \PD{\phi}{\LL} \delta \phi
+ \partial_\mu \lr{ \PD{(\partial_mu \phi)}{\LL} \delta \phi}
– \lr{ \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_mu \phi)}{\LL} } \delta \phi
} \\
&=
\int d^d x
\delta \phi
\lr{ \PD{\phi}{\LL}
– \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_mu \phi)}{\LL} }
+ \int d^3 \sigma_\mu \lr{ \PD{(\partial_\mu \phi)}{\LL} \delta \phi }
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

If we are explicit about the boundary term, we write it as
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:480}
\int dt d^3 \Bx \partial_t \lr{ \PD{(\partial_t \phi)}{\LL} \delta \phi }
– \spacegrad \cdot \lr{ \PD{(\spacegrad \phi)}{\LL} \delta \phi }
=
\int d^3 \Bx \evalrange{ \PD{(\partial_t \phi)}{\LL} \delta \phi }{t = -T}{t = T}
– \int dt d^2 \BS \cdot \lr{ \PD{(\spacegrad \phi)}{\LL} \delta \phi }.
\end{equation}
but \( \delta \phi = 0 \) at \( t = \pm T \) and also at the spatial boundaries of the integration region.

This leaves
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:500}
\delta S[\phi] = \int d^d x \delta \phi
\lr{ \PD{\phi}{\LL} – \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_mu \phi)}{\LL} } = 0 \forall \delta \phi.
\end{equation}
That is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:540}
\boxed{
\PD{\phi}{\LL} – \partial_\mu \PD{(\partial_mu \phi)}{\LL} = 0.
}
\end{equation}

This are the Euler-Lagrange equations for a single scalar field.

Returning to our sample scalar Lagrangian
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:560}
\LL = \inv{2} \partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi – \inv{2} m^2 \phi^2 – \frac{\lambda}{4} \phi^4.
\end{equation}
This example is related to the Ising model which has a \( \phi \rightarrow -\phi \) symmetry. Applying the Euler-Lagrange equations, we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:580}
\PD{\phi}{\LL} = -m^2 \phi – \lambda \phi^3,
\end{equation}
and
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:600}
\begin{aligned}
\PD{(\partial_\mu \phi)}{\LL}
&=
\PD{(\partial_\mu \phi)}{} \lr{
\inv{2} \partial_\nu \phi \partial^\nu \phi } \\
&=
\inv{2} \partial^\nu \phi
\PD{(\partial_\mu \phi)}{}
\partial_\nu \phi
+
\inv{2} \partial_\nu \phi
\PD{(\partial_\mu \phi)}{}
\partial_\alpha \phi g^{\nu\alpha} \\
&=
\inv{2} \partial^\mu \phi
+
\inv{2} \partial_\nu \phi g^{\nu\mu} \\
&=
\partial^\mu \phi
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
so we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:620}
\begin{aligned}
0
&=
\PD{\phi}{\LL} -\partial_\mu
\PD{(\partial_\mu \phi)}{\LL} \\
&=
-m^2 \phi – \lambda \phi^3 – \partial_\mu \partial^\mu \phi.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

For \( \lambda = 0 \), the free field theory limit, this is just
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:640}
\partial_\mu \partial^\mu \phi + m^2 \phi = 0.
\end{equation}
Written out from the observer frame, this is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:660}
(\partial_t)^2 \phi – \spacegrad^2 \phi + m^2 \phi = 0.
\end{equation}

With a non-zero mass term
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:680}
\lr{ \partial_t^2 – \spacegrad^2 + m^2 } \phi = 0,
\end{equation}
is called the Klein-Gordan equation.

If we also had \( m = 0 \) we’d have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:700}
\lr{ \partial_t^2 – \spacegrad^2 } \phi = 0,
\end{equation}
which is the wave equation (for a massless free field). This is also called the D’Alembert equation, which is familiar from electromagnetism where we have
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:720}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \partial_t^2 – \spacegrad^2 } \BE &= 0 \\
\lr{ \partial_t^2 – \spacegrad^2 } \BB &= 0,
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
in a source free region.

Canonical quantization.

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:740}
\LL = \inv{2} \dot{q} – \frac{\omega^2}{2} q^2
\end{equation}
This has solution \(\ddot{q} = – \omega^2 q\).

Let
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:760}
p = \PD{\dot{q}}{\LL} = \dot{q}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:780}
H(p,q) = \evalbar{p \dot{q} – \LL}{\dot{q}(p, q)}
= p p – \inv{2} p^2 + \frac{\omega^2}{2} q^2 = \frac{p^2}{2} + \frac{\omega^2}{2} q^2
\end{equation}

In QM we quantize by mapping Poisson brackets to commutators.
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:800}
\antisymmetric{\hatp}{\hat{q}} = -i
\end{equation}
One way to represent is to say that states are \( \Psi(\hat{q}) \), a wave function, \( \hat{q} \) acts by \( q \)
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:820}
\hat{q} \Psi = q \Psi(q)
\end{equation}
With
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:840}
\hatp = -i \PD{q}{},
\end{equation}
so
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:860}
\antisymmetric{ -i \PD{q}{} } { q} = -i
\end{equation}

Let’s introduce an explicit space time split. We’ll write
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:880}
L = \int d^3 x \lr{
\inv{2} (\partial_0 \phi(\Bx, t))^2 – \inv{2} \lr{ \spacegrad \phi(\Bx, t) }^2 – \frac{m^2}{2} \phi
},
\end{equation}
so that the action is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:900}
S = \int dt L.
\end{equation}
The dynamical variables are \( \phi(\Bx) \). We define
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:920}
\begin{aligned}
\pi(\Bx, t) = \frac{\delta L}{\delta (\partial_0 \phi(\Bx, t))}
&=
\partial_0 \phi(\Bx, t) \\
&=
\dot{\phi}(\Bx, t),
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
called the canonical momentum, or the momentum conjugate to \( \phi(\Bx, t) \). Why \( \delta \)? Has to do with an implicit Dirac function to eliminate the integral?

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:940}
\begin{aligned}
H
&= \int d^3 x \evalbar{\lr{ \pi(\bar{\Bx}, t) \dot{\phi}(\bar{\Bx}, t) – L }}{\dot{\phi}(\bar{\Bx}, t) = \pi(x, t) } \\
&= \int d^3 x \lr{ (\pi(\Bx, t))^2 – \inv{2} (\pi(\Bx, t))^2 + \inv{2} (\spacegrad \phi)^2 + \frac{m}{2} \phi^2 },
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}
or
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:960}
H
= \int d^3 x \lr{ \inv{2} (\pi(\Bx, t))^2 + \inv{2} (\spacegrad \phi(\Bx, t))^2 + \frac{m}{2} (\phi(\Bx, t))^2 }
\end{equation}

In analogy to the momentum, position commutator in QM
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:1000}
\antisymmetric{\hat{p}_i}{\hat{q}_j} = -i \delta_{ij},
\end{equation}
we “quantize” the scalar field theory by promoting \( \pi, \phi \) to operators and insisting that they also obey a commutator relationship
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qftLecture4:980}
\antisymmetric{\pi(\Bx, t)}{\phi(\By, t)} = -i \delta^3(\Bx – \By).
\end{equation}

References

[1] Frank Wilczek. Fundamental constants. arXiv preprint arXiv:0708.4361, 2007. URL https://arxiv.org/abs/0708.4361.

PHY1520H Graduate Quantum Mechanics. Lecture 8: Dirac equation in 1D. Taught by Prof. Arun Paramekanti

October 13, 2015 phy1520 No comments , , , ,

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting]

Disclaimer

Peeter’s lecture notes from class. These may be incoherent and rough.

These are notes for the UofT course PHY1520, Graduate Quantum Mechanics, taught by Prof. Paramekanti.

Schrodinger Derivation

Recall that a “derivation” of the Schrodinger equation can be associated with the following equivalences

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:300}
E \leftrightarrow \Hbar \omega \leftrightarrow i \Hbar \PD{t}{}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:320}
p \leftrightarrow \Hbar k \leftrightarrow -i \Hbar \PD{t}{}
\end{equation}

so that the classical energy relationship

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:20}
E = \frac{p^2}{2m}
\end{equation}

takes the form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:40}
i \Hbar \PD{t}{} = -\frac{\Hbar^2}{2m}.
\end{equation}

How do we do this in a relativistic context where the energy momentum relationship is

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:60}
E = \sqrt{ p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4 } \approx m c^2 + \frac{p^2}{2m} + \cdots
\end{equation}

where \( m \) is the rest mass and \( c \) is the speed of light.

Attempt I

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:80}
E = m c^2 + \frac{p^2}{2m} + (…) p^4 + (…) p^6 + \cdots
\end{equation}

First order in time, but infinite order in space \( \partial/\partial x \). Useless.

Attempt II

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:100}
E^2 = p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4.
\end{equation}

This gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:120}
-\Hbar^2 \PDSq{t}{\psi} = – \Hbar^2 c^2 \PDSq{x}{\psi} + m^2 c^4 \psi.
\end{equation}

This is the Klein-Gordon equation, which is second order in time.

Attempt III

Suppose that we have the matrix

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:140}
\begin{bmatrix}
p c & m c^2 \\
m c^2 & – p c
\end{bmatrix},
\end{equation}

or

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:160}
\begin{bmatrix}
m c^2 & i p c \\
-i p c & – m c^2
\end{bmatrix},
\end{equation}

These both happen to have eigenvalues \( \lambda_{\pm} = \pm \sqrt{p^2 c^2} \). For those familiar with the Dirac matrices, this amounts to a choice for different representations of the gamma matrices.

Working with \ref{eqn:qmLecture8:140}, which has some nicer features than other possible representations, we seek a state

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:180}
\Bpsi =
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_1(x, t) \\
\psi_2(x, t) \\
\end{bmatrix},
\end{equation}

where we aim to write down an equation for this composite state.

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:200}
i \Hbar \PD{t}{\Bpsi} = \BH \Bpsi
\end{equation}

Assuming the matrix is the Hamiltonian, multiplying that with the composite state gives

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:220}
\begin{aligned}
\begin{bmatrix}
i \Hbar \PD{t}{\psi_1} \\
i \Hbar \PD{t}{\psi_1}
\end{bmatrix}
&=
\begin{bmatrix}
\hat{p} c & m c^2 \\
m c^2 & – \hat{p} c
\end{bmatrix}
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_1(x, t) \\
\psi_2(x, t) \\
\end{bmatrix} \\
&=
\begin{bmatrix}
\hat{p} c \psi_1 + m c^2 \psi_2 \\
m c^2 \psi_1 – \hat{p} c \psi_2
\end{bmatrix}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

What happens when we square this?

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:240}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ i \Hbar \PD{t}{} }^2 \Bpsi
&= \BH \BH \Bpsi \\
&=
\begin{bmatrix}
\hat{p} c & m c^2 \\
m c^2 & – \hat{p} c
\end{bmatrix}
\begin{bmatrix}
\hat{p} c & m c^2 \\
m c^2 & – \hat{p} c
\end{bmatrix}
\Bpsi \\
&=
\begin{bmatrix}
\hat{p}^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4 & 0 \\
0 & \hat{p}^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4 \\
\end{bmatrix}.
\end{aligned}
\end{equation}

That is
\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:260}
– \Hbar^2 \PDSq{t}{} \Bpsi
=
\lr{ \hat{p}^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4 } \mathbf{1} \Bpsi,
\end{equation}

or more exactly

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:280}
– \Hbar^2 \PDSq{t}{} \psi_{1,2}
=
\lr{ \hat{p}^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4 } \psi_{1,2}.
\end{equation}

This recovers the Klein Gordon equation for each of the wave functions \( \psi_1, \psi_2 \).

Instead of squaring the operators, lets try to solve the first order equation. To do so we’ll want to diagonalize \( \BH \).

Before doing that, let’s write out the Hamiltonian in an alternate but useful form

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:340}
\BH
=
\hat{p} c
\begin{bmatrix}
1 & 0 \\
0 & -1
\end{bmatrix}
+
m c^2
\begin{bmatrix}
0 & 1 \\
1 & 0
\end{bmatrix}
= \hat{p} c \hat{\sigma}_z + m c^2 \hat{\sigma}_x.
\end{equation}

We have two types of operators in the mix here. We have matrix operators that act on the wave function matrices, as well as derivative operators that act on the components of those matrices.

We have

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:360}
\hat{\sigma}_z
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_1 \\
\psi_2 \\
\end{bmatrix}
=
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_1 \\
-\psi_2 \\
\end{bmatrix},
\end{equation}

and

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:380}
\hat{\sigma}_x
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_1 \\
\psi_2 \\
\end{bmatrix}
=
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_2 \\
\psi_1 \\
\end{bmatrix}.
\end{equation}

Because the derivative actions of \( \hat{p} \) and the matrix operators are independent, we see that these operators commute. For example

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:400}
\hat{\sigma}_z \hat{p}
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_1 \\
\psi_2 \\
\end{bmatrix}
=
\hat{\sigma}_z
\begin{bmatrix}
-i \Hbar \PD{x}{\psi_1} \\
-i \Hbar \PD{x}{\psi_2} \\
\end{bmatrix}
=
\begin{bmatrix}
-i \Hbar \PD{x}{\psi_1} \\
i \Hbar \PD{x}{\psi_2} \\
\end{bmatrix}
=
\hat{p}
\hat{\sigma}_z
\begin{bmatrix}
\psi_1 \\
\psi_2 \\
\end{bmatrix}.
\end{equation}

Diagonalizing it

Suppose the wave function matrix has the structure

\begin{equation}\label{eqn:qmLecture8:420}
\Bpsi =
\begin{bmatrix}
f_{+} \\
f_{-} \\
\end{bmatrix}
e^{i k x}.
\end{equation}

We’ll plug this into the Schrodinger equation and see what we get.