Energy quantisation and time parameterisation
Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7ZL, UK
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia “G. Galilei” and Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Università di Padova, Via Marzolo 8, Padova, 35131, Italy
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Accepted: 9 December 2013
Published online: 23 January 2014
We show that if space is compact, then trajectories cannot be defined in the framework of the quantum Hamilton–Jacobi (HJ) equation. The starting point is the simple observation that when the energy is quantised it is not possible to make variations with respect to the energy, and the time parameterisation , implied by Jacobi’s theorem, which leads to the group velocity, is ill defined. It should be stressed that this follows directly from the quantum HJ equation without any axiomatic assumption concerning the standard formulation of quantum mechanics. This provides a stringent connection between the quantum HJ equation and the Copenhagen interpretation. Together with tunnelling and the energy quantisation theorem for confining potentials, formulated in the framework of quantum HJ equation, it leads to the main features of the axioms of quantum mechanics from a unique geometrical principle. Similar to the case of the classical HJ equation, this fixes its quantum analog by requiring that there exist point transformations, rather than canonical ones, leading to the trivial hamiltonian. This is equivalent to a basic cocycle condition on the states. Such a cocycle condition can be implemented on compact spaces, so that continuous energy spectra are allowed only as a limiting case. Remarkably, a compact space would also imply that the Dirac and von Neumann formulations of quantum mechanics essentially coincide. We suggest that there is a definition of time parameterisation leading to trajectories in the context of the quantum HJ equation having the probabilistic interpretation of the Copenhagen School.
© The Author(s), 2014