# Mathematics of Linear Algebra

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1 Mathematics of Linear Algebra 28th January 2010 Elements of linear algebra play a dominant role in chemical applications. For the purposes of undergraduate physical chemistry courses, quantum mechanics and select areas of thermodynamics can be formulated in terms of the elements of linear algebra. Thus, we present here a brief review of concepts of linear algebra. we first begin with vectors in Cartesian space (which everyone can conceptualize easily), and then we will generalize to generic vector spaces in anticipation of the use of linear algebra in quantum mechanics (think about how we would consider a function in quantum mechanics in terms of vectors?). 1 Linear Algebra in Cartesian Space 1.1 Vectors and Operations Vectors in Cartesian space are treated as: a = e 1 a 1 + e 2 a 2 + e 3 a 3 = i e ia i The vectors e i are termed a basis, and they represent a complete set of elements that can be used to describe all vectors. We are normally used to seeing them as the coordinate -x, -y, -z axes, but they can be any general mutually perpendicular unit vectors. Then, any vector in Cartesian space (3-space) can be written as a linear combination of the general basis vectors, ɛ i, i = 1, 2, 3. a = ɛ 1 a 1 + ɛ 2a 2 + ɛ 3a 3 = i ɛ ia i Note that the coefficients have special meaning, and this will be reserved for later discussion. 1

2 A vector is thus represented by the three components with respect to a basis. Using the 2 general basis presented above, we can write a vector a as a column matrix as: a = a = a = a = a 1 a 2 a 3 a 1 a 2 a 3 The scalar or dot product of two vectors a and b is defined as a b = a 1 b 1 + a 2 b 2 + a 3 b 3 = i a i b i Note that a a = a a2 2 + a2 3 = a 2 Now let s use our general definition of vectors to define the scalar product. a b = i e i e j a i b j j Let s expand this out. What do we obtain? In order for the full sum to equate to the operational definition of the dot product, we arrive at a condition we have to require of the basis vectors. This is namely: e i e j = δ ij = δ ji = 1 if i = j 0 otherwise This is one way to state that the basis vectors are mutually perpendicular (orthogonal) and have unit length (normal). They are orthonormal. What is the projection of a vector a along one of the basis vectors e j? The scalar product (dot product) is the operational equivalent of projecting a vector onto another vector (in this case projecting a onto e j ) as: 2

3 e j a = i e j a i = i δ ij a i = a j We have used the orthonormality condition in the last step. Employing the concept of the scalar product as a projection of a vector onto a vector, we can write the general form of a vector as: a = i e i e i a = 1 a The notation, 1 = i e i e i is the unit dyadic. A dyadic is an entity that when dotted into a vector, leads to another vector. Ordinarily, a dot product of two vectors leads to a scalar. This is the distinction, and an important one. 1.2 Matrices, Operators, Operations In the last section (Section 1), we defined vectors and relations between them. Keep in mind that each vector is defined in terms of more fundamental units of the relevant space. In Cartesian space, these are the 3 orthonormal coordinate axes. Let s consider an abstraction called an operator which acts, or operates, on a vector, and results in another vector. Let s define an operator Ô as an entity which when acting on a vector a converts it into a vector b, Ô a = b The operator is said to be linear if for any numbers x and y, Ô(x a + y b) = xô a + yô b A linear operator is completely determined if its effect on every possible vector is known. Since any vector can be represented as a linear combination of basis vectors, the operator is nicely determined by its affect on the basis. Since the operator acting on a basis vector is another vector that can be represented as a linear combination of the basis vectors, we can write: 3

4 Ô e i = 3 e j O ji (1) j=1 i = 1, 2, 3 The number O ji is the component of the vector Ô e i along the basis vector e j. The operator can thus be represented as a matrix: Ô = O 11 O 12 O 13 O 21 O 22 O 23 O 31 O 32 O 33 The nomenclature one needs to be aware of is that the matrix representation of the operator Ô in the basis e i is given by the matrix just defined immediately above. This is an important connection. The matrix representation completely specifies how the operator acts on any arbitrary vector since this vector can be expressed as a linear combination of the basis vectors. If we have the matrix representions of two operators, we can determine the matrix representation of an operator that is the product of the two known operators as: (2) Ĉ e j = i e ic ij = Â ˆB e j = Â k e kb kj = ik e ia ik B kj Thus, C ij = k A ikb kj This last expression is the definition of matrix multiplication, so we see that the matrix representation of Ĉ is the product of the matrix representation of the two operators Â and ˆB. The order in which two operators or 2 matrices are multiplied is crucial. In general, two operators or two matrices do not commute. To understand the concept of observable properties in the context of quantum mechanics, we introduce the idea of a commutator of two operators or matrices as: 4

5 [Â, ˆB] [Âmatrix, ˆB matrix ] = Â ˆB ˆBÂ = Âmatrix ˆB matrix ˆB matrix Â matrix The anticommutator is analogously defined as: [Â, ˆB] [Âmatrix, ˆB matrix ] = Â ˆB + ˆBÂ = Âmatrix ˆB matrix + ˆB matrix Â matrix 1.3 More on Matrices Since we have introduced vectors, operators, and matrices in the context of 3D space, we begin to generalize these results. A general matrix with N rows and M columns (an NXM matrix) is represented as the familiar: A = A 11 A 12 A 1M A 21 A 22 A 2M.. A 1M A N1 A N2 A NM If the N = M, the matrix is square. As we have seen, matrix multiplication of an NXM and MXP matrix is C ij = M k=1 A ikb kj i = 1,, N ; j = 1,, P The set of M numbers a i (i=1,...,m) can be represented as a column matrix: a = a 1 a 2. a M We note that for an NXM matrix, A, Aa = b (3) and b is a column matrix with N elements, 5

6 M b i = A ij a j j=1 i = 1, 2,...N The adjoint of an NXM matrix A is an MXN matrix with elements defined as: ( A ) ij = A ji where the A ji notation signifies that we are taking the complex conjugate of the matrix elements of A and interchanging rows and columns. This interchange is known as the transpose if the elements of the matrix are real (show yourselves this). The adjoint of a column matrix is a row matrix with the complex conjugates of the elements of hate column matrix: a = a 1 a 2. a M a = ( a 1 a 2 a 3 a M ) We can determine the product of the two column matrices just described as (note each has dimension of M): a b = ( a 1 a 2 a 3 a M ) b 1 b 2. b M = M i=1 a i b i NOTE: If a and b are real and M = 3, we obtain the 3D scalar product of two vectors. Here we list some useful properties relevant to square matrices (NXN). A diagonal matrix has zero off-diagonal elements: A ij = A ii δ ij The trace of a matrix is the sum of its diagonal elements tra = i A ii 6

7 The unit matrix is 1A = A1 = A. where (1) ij = δ ij The inverse of a matrix is such that A 1 A = AA 1 = 1 A unitary matrix is one whose inverse is its adjoint A 1 = A A Hermitian matrix is self-adjoint A = A A real Hermitian matrix is symmetric 2 Generalization to N-Dimensional Complex Vector Spaces We have outlined some fundamental ideas of 3-dimensional vector spaces familiar to everyone. For laying some of the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics, we now consider generalizing those ideas to spaces of N-dimensions. We will also introduce Dirac s convenient bra/ket notation for representing vectors. By analogy to 3 basis vectors in 3-d space, there are N basis vectors in N-dimensional complex vector spaces. They are mutually orthogonal and normalized, hence orthonormal. We represent the basis e i (i = 1,, N) by the symbol i. These are the ket vectors, or kets. A general vector is now written: a = N i a i i=1 This is a generalization of what we have seen for the simple N = 3 case above. The vector is completely described once we supply the N a i that give the projection of the vector onto the N basis vectors of the space. We can write the matrix form of the vector as: a = a 1 a 2. a N The adjoint of the column matrix is a row matrix: a = (a 1 a 2 a N ) The abstract bra vector a is that whose matrix representation is a. The scalar product between bra and ket is defined as: 7

8 a b = a b = a b = (a 1 a 2 a N ) = N i=1 a i b i Keep in mind, the square of the length of a N-dimension vector is: b 1 b 2. b N N N a a = a i a i = a i 2 i=1 i=1 We can put forth similar mathematical statements for bra vectors: a = i a i i The scalar product is then: a b = j a i i j b j i For this to be equivalent to our notion of a scalar product, what result naturally arises from the last expression? i j = δ ij This last is a statement of orthonormality of the basis. 2.1 Projections, Completeness, Operators The projection elements of a vector onto the basis vectors are determined as we have seen before: j a = i j i a i = i δ ji a i = a j a j = i a i i j = i a i δ ij = a j Now we can determine the completeness relations: 8

9 a = i a = i i a i = i a i i = i i i a a i i Thus, we obtain the completeness relation for the basis: 1 = i i i This is a powerful way to derive many useful relations in quantum mechanics. Keep in mind that that the result of the summation is a scalar. An operator can be defined as an entity that acts on a ket to convert it to another ket: Ô a = b The operator is completely determined if we know what it does to the basis i : Ô i = j j O ji = j j (O) ji O is the matrix representation of the operator matrix elements are determined as: Ô in the basis i. The k Ô i = j k j (O) ji = j δ kj (O) ji = (O) ki What is an alternate way to obtain the elements of the matrix representation O of the operator Ô Thus Ô i = 1Ô i = sum j j j Ô i = sum j j Ô i = (O) ji = O ji Let s consider another example of the usefulness of Dirac notation as well as the completeness of a basis. Take the matrix representation of a product of operators: 9

10 i Ĉ j = (C) ij = i Â ˆB j = i Â1 ˆB j = k i Â k k ˆB j = k (A) ik (B) kj The action of an adjoint of an operator acting on bra/ket vectors is analogous to the action of the vector as follows: Show that: i Ô j = Ô a = b a Ô = b ( O ) ij = j Ô i = (O ) ji Hermitian operators are self-adjoint: 3 Change of Basis Ô = Ô We have introduced the idea of a basis. Recall that the choice of basis is not unique. We now consider how to convert a representation of a vector in one basis to its representation in another basis. This is relevant because certain operators may not have diagonal matrix representations in one basis, but we can transform the matrix to another basis, one in which the representation is diagonal. This is quite useful. This requires finding the relationship between the two bases. We now turn to this. Consider that we have two bases i and α. We know: i j = δ ij (4) i i = 1 i α β = δ αβ (5) α α = 1 α 10

11 Since the completeness relations hold, we can represent any ket vector in the basis α as a linear combination of kets in the basis i and vice versa. Thus, α = 1 α = i i i α = i i U iα = i i (U) iα The elements of the transformation matrix, U, are evidently: i α = U iα = (U) iα The analogous relation for representing the i basis in the α basis is: i = 1 i = α α α i = α α U iα = α α (U ) αi where, α i = i α = U iα = (U ) αi NOTE Because of the way U is defined, α i U αi! We now show that an important property of this transformation matrix U is that is is unitary, U 1 = U. = α δ ij = i j i α α j = α (U) iα (U ) αj This last is just another way of saying: = (UU ) ij 1 = UU This is just the definition of a unitary matrix!. We can start with α β = δ αβ relation to arrive at 1 = U U 11

12 Now let s go back and see how we can relate the matrix representation of 2 operators in the 2 different bases. This has relevance to the Eigenvalue problem of the next section, as well as to quantum mechanics as well. Ô i = j j j Ô i = j j O ji Ô α = β β β Ô α = β β Ω βα This obviously suggests: j Ô i = O ji β Ô α = Ω βα To find the explicit relationship between O and Ω, Thus, Ω αβ = α Ô β = α 1Ô1 β = ij α i i Ô j j β = ij (U ) αi (O) ij (U) jβ Ω = U OU O = UΩU This shows that the matrix representations of the operators in the two bases are related by unitary transformation. The importance of these transformations is that any Hermitian operator whose matrix representation in one basis is not diagonal, it is always possible to find another basis in which the matrix representation is diagonal Ω αβ = ω α δ αβ Problem Show that the trace of a matrix is invariant under a unitary transformation, that is then show that trω = tro. Ω = U OU 12

13 4 The Eigenvalue Problem I: Definition The Schroedinger equation is an eigenvalue problem. Here we discuss what this is. When an operator acts on a ket vector α, the result is in general another vector that is distinct from the original. If the result is simply a constant times the original vector, we have: Ô α = ω α α and we state that α is an eigenvector of the operator Ô with an eigenvalue ω α. We can choose the eigenvectors to be normalized ( α α = 1). The eigenvalues and eigenvectors of Hermitian operators (Ô = Ô ) have useful properties that are exploited in quantum mechanics (or rather fit nicely for the purposes of quantum treatment of matter): The eigenvalues of a Hermitian operator are real. ω α = α Ô α = α Ô α = α Ô α = ωα For this to hold, the eigenvalues have to be real. The eigenvectors of a Hermitian operator are orthogonal Ô β = ω β β We also have the adjoint relation: β Ô = β ω β β Ô = β ω β (6) Because of the Hermitian property of O : β Ô α β Ô α = (ω β ω α ) β α = 0 Since we take the eigenvalues to be non-equivalent for the non-degenerate case, we see that the non-degenerate eigenvectors are orthogonal. 13

14 5 The Eigenvalue Problem II: Diagonalization The matrix representation of a Hermitian operator in an arbitrary basis i is generally not diagonal. However, its matrix representation in the basis formed by its eigenvectors is diagonal. To show this: Ô α = ω α α eigenvalue equation β Ô α = ω α β α β Ô α = ω α δ α β Thus, we pose the following problem as an eigenvalue problem: Given the matrix representation of a Hermitian operator Ô in the orthonormal basis i, i = 1, 2,, N we wish to find the orthonormal basis α, α = 1, 2,, N in which the matrix representation of ˆΩ is diagonal, (Ω αβ = ω αβ δ αβ ). That is, we would like to diagonalize the matrix representation of Ô. Earlier we saw the relation between two representations of the operator Ô in two different bases through a unitary transformation: Ω = U O U The problem of diagonalizing the Hermitian matrix O is equivalent to the problem of finding the unitary matrix U that converts the matrix O into a diagonal matrix: U O U = ω ω ω N ω N There exit numerous efficient methods to do this diagonalization. Here we dicusss the mechanics of the process using a more brute force approach, strictly for pedagogical purposes in the context of understanding diagonalization, not for optimizing computational algorithms. Let s restate the eigenvalue problem as follows: Given an N x N Hermitian matrix O, we wish to find all distinct column vectors c (the eigenvectors of O) and the corresponding numbers ω (the eigenvalues of O) such that: O c = ω c(o ω 1) c = 0 14

15 The last equation has a nontrivial solution (c 0) only when the following holds: O ω 1 = 0 where the above expression signifies that the determinant of the expression is equal to zero. This is called the secular determinant, and for the resulting polynomial of degree N (since we are dealing with an N x N Hermitian operator and matrix), there will be N roots, ω α, α = 1, 2,, N, which are the eigenvalues of the matrix O. The corresponding eigenvectors result from subustituting individually the eigenvalues into the defining equations of the eigenvalue problem. This leads to the eigenvectors, c α determined to within a multiplicative constant. The unique vectors are determined by normalization i = (c α i ) c α i = 1 Thus, we have our solutions for the eigenvectors and eigenvalues of the original matrix O representing the operator Ô in the original basis i, i = 1, 2, 3,, N: O c α = ω α c α Since O is Hermitian, the eigenvalues are real and the eigenvectors are orthogonal i = (c α i ) c β i = δ αβ Now, let s finish the connection to the original discussion about the relation of the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the arbitrary Hermitian matrix, O to unitary transformations. Let s construct a matrix whose columns are the eigenvectors we have just determined for the matrix O. We will call this matrix U: U = c 1 1 c 2 1 c N 1 c 1 2 c 2 2 c N c 1 N c2 N cn N = ( c 1 c 2 c N ) It is clear that the α th column of U is the eigenvector (as a column matrix), c α, and so we can write: 15

16 (U) i α = U i α = c α i This allows us to write straightforwardly: O U = U ω ω ω N 1. = U ω ω N We also note that the orthonormality condition becomes: i = (c α i ) c β i = i U i α U i β = i ( U ) α i (U) i β = δ αβ But the last relation is simply: U U = 1 The last relation allows us to write: U O U = ω This gives the relation between the unitary transformation (U) which diagonalizes the matrix O and the eigenvectors (c α ) of O. 6 Exercise Let s consider the following matrix and find the eigenvalues and eigenvectors for this arbitrary matrix representation of some operator. O = ( O11 O 12 O 21 O 22 ) 6.1 Solution We are looking for the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the matrix. restatement of the problem is: The 16

17 ( O11 O 12 ) ( c1 O 21 O 22 c 2 ) ( c1 = ω c 2 ) The secular determinant and associated second-order polynomial equation is: O 11 ω O 12 O 21 O 22 ω = ω2 ω (O 22 + O 11 ) + O 11 O 22 O 12 O 21 = 0 The quadratic equation has two solutions; these are the eigenvalues of the matrix bf O: ω 1 = 1 2 ω 2 = 1 2 [O 11 + O 22 ((O 22 O 11 ) 2 + 4O 12 O 21 ) 1/2] [O 11 + O 22 + ((O 22 O 11 ) 2 + 4O 12 O 21 ) 1/2] Since we have two eigenvalues, there will be two eigenvectors (assuming non-degenerate eigenvalues). This requires us to determine the values of c 1 and c 2 for the cases associated with the two eigenvalues. For the case of ω 2, consider: O 11 c O 12 c 2 2 = ω 2 c 2 1 O 21 c O 22 c 2 2 = ω 2 c 2 2 We can write analogous expressions for ω 1 (not shown here). One of the above equations coupled with the normalization condition: (c 2 1)(c 2 1) + (c 2 2)(c 2 2) = 1 allows us to solve for the coefficients for the eigenvector associated with ω 2. For the particular case where O 11 = O 22 = a and O 12 = O 21 = b, the eigenvalues are : ω 1 ω 2 = a b = a + b To find the eigenvector, we use : O 11 c O 12 c 2 2 = ω 2 c 2 1 a c b c2 2 = (a + b) c2 1 17

18 which gives c 2 1 = c2 2. The normalization condition gives c2 1 = c2 2 = 1 2. One can also solve this eigenvalue equation by directly finding the unitary transformation matrix, U. Try this approach to see what you can come up with. 7 Orthogonal Functions, Eigenfunctions, and Operators We have so far encountered the idea that vectors in N-dimensional spaces can be represented as linear combinations of basis vectors. By analogy to Fourier series, we now see how we can set up the formalism to treat functions as bases, and describe arbitrary functions as linear combinations of these bases functions. You have already encountered this in the idea of Fourier sine and cosine series representations of functions (recall that one can represent a well-behaved function by infinite sums of sine and cosine functions, or truncated sums to sufficient accuracy as dictated by the application or individual preference). Consider an infinite set of functions (ψ i (x), = 1, 2,...) that satisfy the orthonormality conditions on some interval [x 1, x 2 ]. (In quantum mechanics, you will encounter several examples of such mathematical functions): x2 x 1 dx ψ i (x)ψ j (x) = δ ij In the following, we drop the integration limits. As in the case of a Fourier expansion, we now suppose that any function a(x) can be expressed as a linear combination of the set of functions (ψ i ): a(x) = i ψ i (x)a i The basis (ψ i (x), = 1, 2,...) is thus complete. The components of the basis functions, a j are determined from: dxψ j (x) a(x) = i dx ψ j (x) ψ i(x) a i = i δ ij a i = a j Substituting our expressions for the coefficients a j in the expansion, we obtain: [ ] a(x) = dx ψ i (x) ψi (x ) a(x ) i 18

19 The quantity in brackets is a functions of x and x. It serves to pick out a(x) if it is multiplied by a(x ) and integrated over all values of x. This is commonly referred to as the Dirac delta function δ(x x ). ψ i (x) ψi (x ) = δ(x x ) i The Dirac delta function is a generalization of the discrete Kronecker delta as: a i = j δ ij a j a(x) = dx δ(x x )a(x ) also, as one might expect, δ(x x) = δ(x x ) We can get a little further insight into a useful property of the Dirac delta function via the following. If we let x = 0 in our definition of the Dirac delta function, a(0) = dx δ(x )a(x ) Finally, taking a(x ) to be 1, one obtains: 1 = dx δ(x ) This shows the familiar property of the Dirac delta function of having identically unit area. Furthermore, by multiplying a function a(x) and integrating over any interval containing x = 0, it picks out the value of the function at x = Functions in the Language of Linear Algebra To make the connection between the linear algebra of vectors and complete orthonormal functions, we first introduce the shorthand notation ψ i (x) = i ψi (x) = i a(x) = a a (x) = a 19

20 The scalar product of 2 functions is : dx a (x) b(x) = a b We also have the following relations which should be fairly evident at this point: i j = δ ij j a = a j a = i i i a Operators serve to transform functions into other functions: Ô a(x) = b(x) Ô a = b The idea of eigenfunctions and eigenvalues is also evident for functions. Ô φ α (x) = ω α φ α (x) Ô α = ω α α The φ α are eigenfunctions of the operator, and the ω α are eigenvalues. The eigenfunctions are normalized: dx φ α(x) φ α (x) = α α = 1 and the eigenvalues can be represented as: In general, ω α = ω α = dx φ α (x) Ô φ α(x) = α Ô α dx φ α (x) Ô φ β(x) = α Ô β 20

21 We finally comment on the properties of Hermitian operators acting on functions: dx a (x) Ô b(x) = dx b(x)(ô a(x)) = ( dx b (x) Ô a(x) ) a Ô b = b Ô a 21

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