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ERIC Number: EJ1076726
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: EISSN-1554-9178
Student Understanding of Time Dependence in Quantum Mechanics
Emigh, Paul J.; Passante, Gina; Shaffer, Peter S.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v11 n2 p020112-1-020112-12 Jul-Dec 2015
The time evolution of quantum states is arguably one of the more difficult ideas in quantum mechanics. In this article, we report on results from an investigation of student understanding of this topic after lecture instruction. We demonstrate specific problems that students have in applying time dependence to quantum systems and in recognizing the key role of the energy eigenbasis in determining the time dependence of wave functions. Through analysis of student responses to a set of four interrelated tasks, we categorize some of the difficulties that underlie common errors. The conceptual and reasoning difficulties that have been identified are illustrated through student responses to four sets of questions administered at different points in a junior-level course on quantum mechanics. Evidence is also given that the problems persist throughout undergraduate instruction and into the graduate level. [This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics Courses.]
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail: assocpub@aps.org; Web site: http://prst-per.aps.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE-1022449