Quantum geometry

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In theoretical physics, quantum geometry is the set of mathematical concepts generalizing the concepts of geometry whose understanding is necessary to describe the physical phenomena at distance scales comparable to the Planck length. At these distances, quantum mechanics has a profound effect on physical phenomena.

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Quantum gravity

Each theory of quantum gravity uses the term "quantum geometry" in a slightly different fashion. String theory, a leading candidate for a quantum theory of gravity, uses the term quantum geometry to describe exotic phenomena such as T-duality and other geometric dualities, mirror symmetry, topology-changing transitions[ clarification needed ], minimal possible distance scale, and other effects that challenge intuition. More technically, quantum geometry refers to the shape of a spacetime manifold as experienced by D-branes which includes quantum corrections to the metric tensor, such as the worldsheet instantons. For example, the quantum volume of a cycle is computed from the mass of a brane wrapped on this cycle. As another example, a distance between two quantum mechanical particles can be expressed in terms of the Łukaszyk–Karmowski metric. [1]

In an alternative approach to quantum gravity called loop quantum gravity (LQG), the phrase "quantum geometry" usually refers to the formalism within LQG where the observables that capture the information about the geometry are now well defined operators on a Hilbert space. In particular, certain physical observables, such as the area, have a discrete spectrum. It has also been shown that the loop quantum geometry is non-commutative. [2]

It is possible (but considered unlikely) that this strictly quantized understanding of geometry will be consistent with the quantum picture of geometry arising from string theory.

Another, quite successful, approach, which tries to reconstruct the geometry of space-time from "first principles" is Discrete Lorentzian quantum gravity.

Quantum states as differential forms

Differential forms are used to express quantum states, using the wedge product: [3]

where the position vector is

the differential volume element is

and x1, x2, x3 are an arbitrary set of coordinates, the upper indices indicate contravariance, lower indices indicate covariance, so explicitly the quantum state in differential form is:

The overlap integral is given by:

in differential form this is

The probability of finding the particle in some region of space R is given by the integral over that region:

provided the wave function is normalized. When R is all of 3d position space, the integral must be 1 if the particle exists.

Differential forms are an approach for describing the geometry of curves and surfaces in a coordinate independent way. In quantum mechanics, idealized situations occur in rectangular Cartesian coordinates, such as the potential well, particle in a box, quantum harmonic oscillator, and more realistic approximations in spherical polar coordinates such as electrons in atoms and molecules. For generality, a formalism which can be used in any coordinate system is useful.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Wave function Mathematical description of the quantum state of a system; complex-valued probability amplitude, and the probabilities for the possible results of measurements made on the system can be derived from it

A wave function in quantum physics is a mathematical description of the quantum state of an isolated quantum system. The wave function is a complex-valued probability amplitude, and the probabilities for the possible results of measurements made on the system can be derived from it. The most common symbols for a wave function are the Greek letters ψ and Ψ.

In physics, an operator is a function over a space of physical states onto another space of physical states. The simplest example of the utility of operators is the study of symmetry. Because of this, they are very useful tools in classical mechanics. Operators are even more important in quantum mechanics, where they form an intrinsic part of the formulation of the theory.

Blochs theorem

In condensed matter physics, Bloch's theorem states that solutions to the Schrödinger equation in a periodic potential take the form of a plane wave modulated by a periodic function. These solutions, sometimes known as Bloch functions or Bloch states, are eigenstates in energy, and serve as a suitable basis for the wave functions of electrons in crystalline solids. Mathematically, they are written:

Path integral formulation

The path integral formulation is a description in quantum mechanics that generalizes the action principle of classical mechanics. It replaces the classical notion of a single, unique classical trajectory for a system with a sum, or functional integral, over an infinity of quantum-mechanically possible trajectories to compute a quantum amplitude.

Wheeler–DeWitt equation A field equation, part of a theory that attempts to combine quantum mechanics and general relativity

The Wheeler–DeWitt equation is a field equation. It is part of a theory that attempts to combine mathematically the ideas of quantum mechanics and general relativity, a step towards a theory of quantum gravity. In this approach, time plays a role different from what it does in non-relativistic quantum mechanics, leading to the so-called 'problem of time'. More specifically, the equation describes the quantum version of the Hamiltonian constraint using metric variables. Its commutation relations with the diffeomorphism constraints generate the Bergman–Komar "group".

In physics, a free particle is a particle that, in some sense, is not bound by an external force, or equivalently not in a region where its potential energy varies. In classical physics, this means the particle is present in a "field-free" space. In quantum mechanics, it means a region of uniform potential, usually set to zero in the region of interest since potential can be arbitrarily set to zero at any point in space.

LSZ reduction formula

In quantum field theory, the LSZ reduction formula is a method to calculate S-matrix elements from the time-ordered correlation functions of a quantum field theory. It is a step of the path that starts from the Lagrangian of some quantum field theory and leads to prediction of measurable quantities. It is named after the three German physicists Harry Lehmann, Kurt Symanzik and Wolfhart Zimmermann.

In quantum mechanics, the Hellmann–Feynman theorem relates the derivative of the total energy with respect to a parameter, to the expectation value of the derivative of the Hamiltonian with respect to that same parameter. According to the theorem, once the spatial distribution of the electrons has been determined by solving the Schrödinger equation, all the forces in the system can be calculated using classical electrostatics.

In quantum mechanics, the momentum operator is the operator associated with the linear momentum. The momentum operator is, in the position representation, an example of a differential operator. For the case of one particle in one spatial dimension, the definition is:

The Ehrenfest theorem, named after Paul Ehrenfest, an Austrian theoretical physicist at Leiden University, relates the time derivative of the expectation values of the position and momentum operators x and p to the expectation value of the force on a massive particle moving in a scalar potential ,

In quantum mechanics, the position operator is the operator that corresponds to the position observable of a particle.

In many-body theory, the term Green's function is sometimes used interchangeably with correlation function, but refers specifically to correlators of field operators or creation and annihilation operators.

In quantum mechanics, the Pauli equation or Schrödinger–Pauli equation is the formulation of the Schrödinger equation for spin-½ particles, which takes into account the interaction of the particle's spin with an external electromagnetic field. It is the non-relativistic limit of the Dirac equation and can be used where particles are moving at speeds much less than the speed of light, so that relativistic effects can be neglected. It was formulated by Wolfgang Pauli in 1927.

In a field of mathematics known as differential geometry, a Courant geometry was originally introduced by Zhang-Ju Liu, Alan Weinstein and Ping Xu in their investigation of doubles of Lie bialgebroids in 1997. Liu, Weinstein and Xu named it after Courant, who had implicitly devised earlier in 1990 the standard prototype of Courant algebroid through his discovery of a skew symmetric bracket on , called Courant bracket today, which fails to satisfy the Jacobi identity. Both this standard example and the double of a Lie bialgebra are special instances of Courant algebroids.

In quantum mechanics, the expectation value is the probabilistic expected value of the result (measurement) of an experiment. It can be thought of as an average of all the possible outcomes of a measurement as weighted by their likelihood, and as such it is not the most probable value of a measurement; indeed the expectation value may have zero probability of occurring. It is a fundamental concept in all areas of quantum physics.

In quantum physics, a quantum state is a mathematical entity that provides a probability distribution for the outcomes of each possible measurement on a system. Knowledge of the quantum state together with the rules for the system's evolution in time exhausts all that can be predicted about the system's behavior. A mixture of quantum states is again a quantum state. Quantum states that cannot be written as a mixture of other states are called pure quantum states, while all other states are called mixed quantum states. A pure quantum state can be represented by a ray in a Hilbert space over the complex numbers, while mixed states are represented by density matrices, which are positive semidefinite operators that act on Hilbert spaces.

This is a glossary for the terminology often encountered in undergraduate quantum mechanics courses.

Lagrangian field theory is a formalism in classical field theory. It is the field-theoretic analogue of Lagrangian mechanics. Lagrangian mechanics is used to analyze the motion of a system of discrete particles each with a finite number of degrees of freedom. Lagrangian field theory applies to continua and fields, which have an infinite number of degrees of freedom.

Different subfields of physics have different programs for determining the state of a physical system.

References

  1. A new concept of probability metric and its applications in approximation of scattered data sets, Łukaszyk Szymon, Computational Mechanics Volume 33, Number 4, 299–304, Springer-Verlag 2003 doi : 10.1007/s00466-003-0532-2
  2. Ashtekar, Abhay; Corichi, Alejandro; Zapata, José A. (1998), "Quantum theory of geometry. III. Non-commutativity of Riemannian structures", Classical and Quantum Gravity, 15 (10): 2955–2972, arXiv: gr-qc/9806041 , Bibcode:1998CQGra..15.2955A, doi:10.1088/0264-9381/15/10/006, MR   1662415 .
  3. The Road to Reality, Roger Penrose, Vintage books, 2007, ISBN   0-679-77631-1

Further reading