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Essential Quantum Mechanics$
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Gary Bowman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228928.001.0001

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The Time-Independent Schrödinger Equation

The Time-Independent Schrödinger Equation

(p.111) 9 The Time-Independent Schrödinger Equation
Essential Quantum Mechanics

Gary E. Bowman

Oxford University Press

After revisiting the time-dependent Schrödinger equation and introducing the Hamiltonian operator, the time-independent Schrödinger equation (TISE) is obtained. Conditions on acceptable wavefunctions are then stated. The method for solution of the TISE is laid out, and the infinite potential well is solved as an example. A discussion of the physical interpretation of the solutions — as energy eigenstates in position space — follows. This provides an opportunity to introduce overall and relative phases, and to point out that the latter are responsible for time evolution. The TISE is then applied to the important problems of scattering from a step potential and tunneling through a rectangular potential barrier. Use of the TISE for such problems greatly simplifies calculations, but it can also instill misconceptions; both aspects are discussed.

Keywords:   Hamiltonian operator, infinite potential well, energy eigenstate, overall phase, relative phase, step potential, tunneling

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