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Open access peer-reviewed chapter
By Salah Menouar and Jeong Ryeol Choi
Submitted: November 4th 2015Reviewed: April 28th 2016Published: October 19th 2016
Quantum states of a particle subjected to time‐dependent singular potentials in one‐dimension are investigated using invariant operator method and the Nikiforov‐Uvarov method. We consider the case that the system is governed by two singular potentials which are the Coulomb potential and the inverse quadratic potential. An invariant operator that is a function of time has been constructed via a fundamental mechanics. This invariant operator is transformed to a simple one using a unitary operator, which is a time‐independent invariant operator. By solving the Schrödinger equation in the transformed system, analytical forms of exact eigenvalues and eigenfunctions of the invariant operator are evaluated in a simple elegant manner with the help of the Nikiforov‐Uvarov method. Eventually, the full wave functions in the original system (untransformed system) are obtained through an inverse unitary transformation from the wave functions in the transformed system. Quantum characteristics of the system associated with the wave functions are addressed in detail.
After a seminal work of Lewis  for a quantum time‐dependent harmonic oscillator, much attention has been paid to investigating quantum properties of time‐dependent Hamiltonian systems (TDHSs). Any type of the time‐dependent harmonic oscillator is a good example of TDHSs, and the study of its analytical quantum solutions requires particular mathematical techniques. The research topic of TDHSs has been gradually extended to more complicated systems beyond the one‐dimensional time‐dependent harmonic oscillators which are relatively simple. The analytical forms of quantum wave functions of the time‐dependent coupled oscillators have been reported by several researchers [2–4]. The system associated with a class of time‐dependent singular potentials was investigated [5–10] and some of the corresponding results were applied to study the problem of a two‐ion trap within a binding potential . A TDHS that is described by a Hamiltonian that involves term, which in fact is necessary for the description of radial equation for a central force system, was also studied [11–13].
In this chapter, quantum features of a time‐dependent singular potential system  will be investigated. The singular potentials that will be considered here are the combination of the inverse quadratic potential and the Coulomb potential. Singular potentials not only can be applied for describing many actual physical systems but can also serve as mathematical models for quantum field theory and elementary particle theory. The research interest for singular potentials was first shown in a context of relativistic mechanics. Various applications of the singular potentials include interatomic or intermolecular descriptions of a molecular force, the scattering problem of elementary particles, and the interaction of relativistic particles such as quark‐antiquark bound states [14–16].
It was reported by Plesset  that there is a difficulty in the derivation of a physically accepted solution for a relativistic Coulomb‐like singular potential. To overcome such difficulty, the invariant operator method together with a unitary transformation method will be used in this chapter. These methods are useful for investigating the mechanics of TDHSs, like the case that will be represented here. For a TDHS, the eigenstates of the invariant operator are the same as the Schrödinger solutions of the system when we neglect the phase factors of the wave functions . The unitary transformation with a suitable operator allows us to manage a certain complicated system in a transformed space that requires relatively simple mathematical treatments for the system.
Let us consider a one‐dimensional quantum system that is described by a time‐dependent Hamiltonian of the form
where is the position operator and , , and are time‐dependent coefficients with and is a constant. This system is defined in the half space . The system described by Eq. (1) is different from that in Ref. , and a particular case of this type of Hamiltonian system can be found in Ref. . The quantum problem of this Hamiltonian system is very difficult due to the explicit time dependence of parameters, and we are not always possible to derive exact quantum solutions. We will find the condition for solvability of this quantum system in the subsequent development.
As is well known, a useful method for a quantum mechanical treatment of the system in the situation where there exist time‐dependent parameters is to use an invariant operator method [1, 18]. An invariant of the system that is described by a time‐dependent Hamiltonian is constructed from the Liouville‐von Neumann equation of the form
As represented in this equation, the whole time derivative of the invariant operator should be zero because of its definition. Let us suppose that the exact invariant has the form
where , , , and are time‐dependent coefficients that will be derived afterward [see Eqs. (5)–(8)]. In the case of the counterpart classical system, and are no longer operators, and as a consequence the expression given in Eq. (3) can be reduced to .
By solving these equations, it is possible to determine the time‐dependent coefficients. Hence, as a result of a minor evaluation, we have
with an auxiliary condition for the solvability of the system, which is that the time dependence of is chosen in a way that
Now, notice that Eq. (3), with the coefficients given in Eqs. (5–8), is the exact invariant operator. If we express the eigenvalue equation of the invariant operator as , the eigenvalues are time constants, due to the invariant operator not varying with time. Then we can specify the eigenstates for the operators for overall range of time .
By denoting the wave functions as , the Schrödinger equation is expressed in the form For the TDHS, the wave functions are represented in terms of the eigenstates of the invariant operator, such that where are global phases.
Considering the Schrödinger equation, we can easily verify that satisfy the relation :
Hence, if the eigenstates of the invariant operator, , are completely known, the corresponding global phases are easily obtained by solving Eq. (11). Concerning this quantum formulation of the system based on the invariant operator, the solvability of for a TDHS is noticeable.
The strategy of our manipulation for deriving exact quantum solutions of the system is that we transform the operator into a simple form which is not a function of time. Then, it is easy to derive the eigenstates of associated with the transformed system because does not depend on time. The corresponding quantum results in the transformed system will be inversely transformed to the original system (untransformed system). This may lead to derive exact eigenfunctions in the original system.
For this purpose, let us first perform a unitary transformation of the eigenstates such that
where is a time‐dependent unitary operator given by :
The transformation of the invariant operator using this operator can be performed in a straightforward way with Eq. (3), , leading to
Here, the transformed invariant operator does not depend on time as expected. Through this procedure, we can represent the eigenvalue equation for the transformed invariant operator as
If we put , it is possible to analyze the system in three cases which are , , and . Among them, the only solvable case is the third one. Hence, let us see the system with from now on. In this case, the invariant quantity reduces to
Then, the eigenvalue equation given in Eq. (15) becomes
with the condition that .
In this section, we consider the solvable case that . To evaluate the differential equation given in Eq. (17), we will use the Nikiforov‐Uvarov (NU) method [19, 20] that is introduced in Appendix A. Using the transformation , Eq. (17) can be transformed into
By comparing this equation with Eq. (A1) in the NU method of Appendix A, we get and
where Here, is determined from the fact that the discriminant associated with this equation should be zero so that the expression inside the square root in this equation can be rearranged as the square of a polynomial. From Eq. (20), we have four possible values of as [10, 22]
For the polynomial of , takes a negative value  and
with From the relation (see Appendix A)
can be expressed as
For the case of we have 
Then, by inserting the first and the second relations in Eq. (18) into the above equation, we easily confirm that the eigenvalues are given in the form
where . These are bound‐state eigenvalues satisfying the boundary conditions . This consequence agrees well with the report of Ref.  performed without using the NU method. To find eigenfunctions, we first need to determine the weight function in Appendix A. Using Eq. (A5) in Appendix A and considering the condition in Eq. (23), we get Substituting this into Eq. (A6), we obtain the unnormalized values of as [is defined in Eq. (A2).]:
Finally, regarding Eq. (A2) in Appendix A for bound states, the eigenfunctions of the invariant , that are finite for all , have the form
where is the normalization constant. By determining the exact formulae of from the well‐known condition
the corresponding normalized wave functions are found to be
Because the eigenstates of are given by , the normalized wave functions are evaluated as
Then, with the help of Eq. (28), this equation can be easily evaluated and, consequently, we obtain the phase factors in the form
Now, by substituting Eq. (36) into Eq. (34), we find the exact nth‐order solutions of the Schrödinger equation associated to the Hamiltonian Eq. (34) is the full wave functions in the original system and agrees with the results of the report given in Ref. , which is performed for a little different system using another method. The wave functions are interpreted as probability amplitudes for finding the particle in the potential. These functions are defined everywhere and possess general properties for physical meaning such as continuousness and infinite differentiability. On the basis of the wave functions, various quantum properties of the system, such as expectation values of physical observables, energy eigen spectrum, and the uncertainty relation, can be investigated.
Let us see for a particular case that is given by 
where and are positive real constants. In this case, Eq. (9) can be evaluated to be
In this formula, we have used according to the condition (see Section 2). If we substitute Eq. (38) in Eqs. (7) and (8), we have full expressions of and . By using obtained in such a way, the integration given in Eq. (36) can be fulfilled, and this results in
Besides, Eq. (10) becomes
If we choose and where is a real constant, Eq. (40) reduces to
within the time interval . Notice that Eq. (1) with Eqs. (37) and (41) is the same as Eq. (1) of Ref. . Hence, we can confirm that the system treated in Ref.  is a particular case of a more general system that is studied in this chapter.
Considering the relation given in Eq. (39), we have plotted the phase given in Eq. (36) in Figures 1 and 2 as a function of time. From Figure 1, the increment of in time becomes smaller as the quantum number increases. We can confirm from Figure 2 that the increment of also becomes smaller as increases.
The invariant operator method and unitary transformation method were used in order to derive the quantum solutions of a time‐dependent singular potential system that is described by the Hamiltonian given in Eq. (1). The quadratic invariant operator of the system has been determined from the use of its definition as shown in Eq. (3). The wave functions that satisfy the Schrödinger equation are given by multiplying the eigenstates of the invariant operator and the phase factors [see Eq. (34) with Eq. (12)]. By using the unitary operator, the original invariant operator which is a time function was transformed to a simple form that is not a function of time. The NU method was used to derive the eigenstates of . The eigenstates of were derived from the inverse transformation of the eigenstates of . The phases of the system were also derived from a fundamental relation in the framework of the invariant operator theory. Through these procedures, the whole wave functions of the system as well as the eigenvalues of the invariant operator were obtained as shown in Eq. (34).
During the derivation of quantum solutions of the system, no approximation or perturbation methods were used. In fact, the merit of the invariant operator method for investigating quantization problem of TDHSs is that the corresponding quantum results are exact [3, 4]. Several methods for numerical treatment of time‐dependent Schrödinger equations are known. If we enumerate some of them, they are the finite difference time domain (FDTD) method [26–31], the discretization method that takes advantage of the asymptotic behavior correspondence (ABC) [32, 33], and the discrete local discontinuous Galerkin method . In particular, the FDTD method has been widely applied to obtain numerical solutions of mechanical problems of dynamical systems including Maxwell‐Schrödinger equations for electromagnetic fields [30, 31]. If the methods for deriving numerical solutions of the Schrödinger equation for singular potential systems would be known in the future, it will be possible to compare our results developed in this chapter with them, leading to deepen the knowledge on quantum characteristics of relevant systems.
In this appendix, we introduce a useful method for solving Eq. (17) in the text, which is known as the NU method. This is useful for deriving the solutions of the Schrödinger‐like second‐order differential equations that play central roles in studying many important problems of theoretical physics. We first start from an appropriate coordinate transformation for an arbitrary function that satisfies the differential equation :
where and are some polynomials which at most are the second degree, and is a polynomial of the first degree. A large part of special orthogonal polynomials  necessary in developing physics can be represented in the form of Eq. (A1). By expressing
where and are constants given in the form 
Notice that the derivative of should be negative, while is obtained from a particular solution of the form which is a polynomial of degree .
In terms of the weight function that satisfies the condition 
the hypergeometric‐type function is given by :
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