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Lecture 20 Parity and Time Reversal

November 15, 2009

Lecture 20

Time Translation

[T ( )] | (t) = | (t + ) = U

i I H | (t) h

is the generator of time translations. [T ( )] = I i H U h

H ] = 0 [H,

time translational invariance H

also

H ] = 0 [H,

= 0 energy conservaton

i h i h

d | (t) | (t) = H dt

d | (t ) | (t ) = H dt

but what if someone is at the control panel as a function of time? changing H

Lecture 20

Time Dependent Hamiltonian

2 p = H + V ( x, t) 2m

i h

d (t)| (t) | (t) = H dt

i h

d (t )| (t ) | (t ) = H dt

(t ) = H (t) not time translationally invariant H

also

i hH

H ] + = [H,

H t

= 0

energy is not conserved

Lecture 20

Parity Inversion
x = x p = p

mirror reection plus rotation by 180o about axis perpendicular to mirror |x = | x |p = | p

(x) = x| | = (x) (p) = p| | = (p)

2 = I if +1: if 1:

eigenvalues of (x) = (x)

are 1 (p) = (p) (p) = (p)

(x) = (x)

1 =
Lecture 20

and

is both unitary and Hermitian


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Parity Conservation
x = x (x ( H , p ) = H x, p ) p = p H = H

] = 0 [ , H

[ , U (t)] = 0

parity is conserved

if system is in a state of denite parity it remains in a state of denite parity is non-degenerate and H (x ( If H , p ) = H x, p ), an energy eigenstate must also be a parity eigenstate.

Lecture 20

Time Reversal
Time reversal is really just reversal of motion. Under time reversal x = x p = p

and we also switch initial and nal states. Imagine taking a movie of some process and then playing the movie backwards. Does the motion in the backward played movie obey the laws of physics? If yes, then the process is invariant under time reversal. If no, then it is non-invariant under time reversal. Time reversal in quantum mechanics involves some subtle issues, so, lets study it rst in classical mechanics to help get our bearings.

Lecture 20

Time Reversal in Classical Mechanics

x (t) = x(t) dx(t) dx(t) = = x (t) dt d(t)

x (t) =

dx (t) dx (t) dx (t) x (t) = = = = x (t) dt dt d(t) So, under time reversal, the velocity changes sign but the position and acceleration of the particle do not.

mx (t) = mx (t) = mF (x(t)) = mF (x (t)) x (t) satises Newtons Law provided the force is velocity independent. Example, of a ball in a gravitational eld.

Lecture 20

Particle in a Magnetic Field


A positively charged particle moving in a region of magnetic eld will curve in a counter-clockwise direction when viewed in the direction of the magnetic eld. If a lm of this is played backwards, the particle will curve in a clockwise direction in violation of the physics of electromagnetism and will not be invariant. What we have done above is time reverse the system, i.e., the charged particle. We have kept the externally applied eld unchanged. Under this situation, we have a violation of time reversal invariance. If, however, we were to consider the entire universe including the sources of the magnetic eld as part of our system and apply the time reversal transformation to the whole universe, the motion would be time reversal invariant. The velocities of the charges in the wire that make up the current that produces the magnetic eld in the time reversed movie would change direction and the current and, therefore, the magnetic eld would be reversed. The laws of physics are almost all completely invariant when time reversal is applied to the whole universe but there is a small violation due to the weak interaction!
Lecture 20 7

Time Reversal Operator


| (t) = eiHt/h | (0)

| (t) = | (t) = eiHt/h | (0)

we will have invariance if


| (t) = eiHt/h | (0)

eiHt/h = eiHt/h

= iH iH

anti-commute and H

This is bad. It leads to negative energies. Consider an energy eigenstate of a free particle. The energy of the time reversed state would be negative. H |E | = E = H |

Lecture 20

Anti-Unitary Operator
must be an anti-unitary operator. It must contain the complex conjugation operator. K = U is a unitary operator and K is the complex where U conjugation operator.

then

= i = iH iH H and H commute

= H H

This tells us that the Hamlltonian must be real in order for time reversal invariance to hold.

Lecture 20

The Complex Conjugation Operator

| =
i

K | = | = U |i = i| U
i

|i |i U

| =
i

K | = | = U |i = i| U
i

|i |i U

=
i j

U |i j | |i j |U

=
i j

|i j |i j | =
i j

|i j | ij

=
i

|i i| = |

time reversal exchanges initial and nal states. (t)| (t) = (t)|(t)
Lecture 20 10

Time Reversed Wave Function

| (t) = | (t) =

|x

x | (t) dx

|x

(t)|x dx

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

Lecture 20

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