Quantum Physics

Heisenberg uncertainty principle

Statement: According to Heisenberg uncertainty principle, it is impossible to measure the exact position and momentum of a particle simultaneously within the wave packet.

We know, group velocity of the wave packet is given by

vg =∆ω/∆k

Where ω is the angular frequency and k is the propagation constant or wave number

But vg is equal to the particle velocity v

Thus vg = v =  ∆ω/∆k                                                   (1)

But                    ω=2пf

Where f is the frequency

Therefore   ∆ ω = 2п ∆ f                          (2)

Also                       k=2 п/λ

Since         de-Broglie wavelength   λ=h/p

By putting this value in equation of k, we get

k=2пp/ λ

Therefore                ∆k=2п∆p / λ                                 (3)

Put equations (2) and (3) in equation (1), we get

v= 2пh∆f/2п∆p =h∆f /            (4)

Let the particle covers distance ∆x in time ∆t, then particle velocity is given by

v  = ∆x/∆t                     (5)

Compare equations (4) and (5), we get


Or                          ∆x.∆p=h∆f ∆t                                     (6)

The frequency ∆f is related to ∆t by relation

∆t≥ 1/∆f                                           (7)

Hence equations (6) becomes

∆x.∆p≥ h

A more sophisticated derivation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle  gives

∆x.∆p=h/2п                                          (8)

Which is the expression of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

As the particle is moving along x-axis. Therefore, the momentum in equation (8) of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle should be the component of the momentum in the x-direction, thus equation Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle can be written as,

∆x.∆px=h/2п                             (9)

Note: There can not be any uncertainty if momentum is along y direction.

Q: Why there is uncertainty in position and momentum?

Answer: Because the particle is always in disturbed state during motion. It is not possible to calculate the position and momentum of particle simultaneously.

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