The autocorrelation function, A(t), measures the overlap (in Hilbert space) of a time-dependent quantum mechanical wave function, φ(x, t). with its initial value, φ(x, 0). It finds extensive use in the theoretical analysis and experimental measurement of such phenomena as quantum wave packet revivals. We evaluate explicit expressions for the autocorrelation function for time-dependent Gaussian solutions of the Schrödinger equation corresponding to the cases of a free particle, a particle undergoing uniform acceleration, a particle in a harmonic oscillator potential, and a system corresponding to an unstable equilibrium (the so-called 'inverted' oscillator.) We emphasize the importance of momentum-space methods where such calculations are often more straightforwardly realized, as well as stressing their role in providing complementary information to results obtained using position-space wavefunctions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)