Quantum Physics For Dummies, Revised Edition
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Your quantum physics instructor may ask you to find the energy level of a harmonic oscillator. The best way to learn how is through an example. Say that you have a proton undergoing harmonic oscillation with

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as shown in the figure.

A proton undergoing harmonic oscillation.
A proton undergoing harmonic oscillation.

What are the energies of the various energy levels of the proton? You know that in general,

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So here are the energies of the proton, in megaelectron volts (MeV):

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And so on.

Now what about the wave functions? The general form of

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Convert all length measurements into femtometers

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where x is measured in femtometers:

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Here are a couple more wave functions:

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About This Article

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About the book author:

Steven Holzner is an award-winning author of technical and science books (like Physics For Dummies and Differential Equations For Dummies). He graduated from MIT and did his PhD in physics at Cornell University, where he was on the teaching faculty for 10 years. He’s also been on the faculty of MIT. Steve also teaches corporate groups around the country.

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