Skip to main content
Physics LibreTexts

5: Multi-Particle Systems

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    In this chapter, we shall extend the single particle, one-dimensional formulation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics, introduced in the previous chapters, in order to investigate one-dimensional systems containing multiple particles.

    • 5.1: Fundamental Concepts of Multi-Particle Systems
      We have already seen that the instantaneous state of a system consisting of a single non-relativistic particle, whose position coordinate is \(x\) , is fully specified by a complex wavefunction \(\Psi(x,t)\) . This wavefunction is interpreted as follows.
    • 5.2: Non-interacting Particles
      For the case of non-interacting particles, the multi-particle Hamiltonian of the system can be written as the sum of N independent single-particle Hamiltonians. Moreover,  the energy of the whole system is simply the sum of the energies of the component particles.
    • 5.3: Two-Particle Systems
      Consider a system consisting of two particles, mass m₁  and m₂ , interacting via a potential V(x₁−x₂) that only depends on the relative positions of the particles. .  in the center of mass frame, two particles of mass m₁ and m₂ , moving in the potential V(x₁−x₂) , are equivalent to a single particle of mass μ , moving in the potential V(x) , where x=x₁−x₂.
    • 5.4: Identical Particles
      Wavefunctions of systems containing many identical particles are symmetric or anti-symmetric under interchange of the labels on any two particles is determined by the nature of the particles themselves . Wavefunctions that are symmetric under label interchange are said to obey Bose-Einstein statistics , and are called bosons. For instance, photons are bosons. Wavefunctions that are anti-symmetric under label interchange are said to obey Fermi-Dirac statistics , and are called fermions.
    • 5.E: Multi-Particle Systems (Exercises)

    This page titled 5: Multi-Particle Systems is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Richard Fitzpatrick.