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Day March 29, 2012

Negative-energy PT-symmetric Hamiltonians

Carl M. Bender, Daniel W. Hook, S. P. Klevansky

The non-Hermitian PT-symmetric quantum-mechanical Hamiltonian \(H=p^2+x^2(ix)^\epsilon\) has real, positive, and discrete eigenvalues for all \(\epsilon\geq 0\). These eigenvalues are analytic continuations of the harmonic-oscillator eigenvalues \(E_n=2n+1\) (n=0, 1, 2, 3, …) at \(\epsilon=0\). However, the harmonic oscillator also has negative eigenvalues \(E_n=-2n-1\) (n=0, 1, 2, 3, …), and one may ask whether it is equally possible to continue analytically from these eigenvalues. It is shown in this paper that for appropriate PT-symmetric boundary conditions the Hamiltonian \(H=p^2+x^2(ix)^\epsilon\) also has real and {\it negative} discrete eigenvalues. The negative eigenvalues fall into classes labeled by the integer N (N=1, 2, 3, …). For the Nth class of eigenvalues, \(\epsilon\) lies in the range \((4N-6)/3<\epsilon<4N-2\). At the low and high ends of this range, the eigenvalues are all infinite. At the special intermediate value \(\epsilon=2N-2\) the eigenvalues are the negatives of those of the conventional Hermitian Hamiltonian \(H=p^2+x^{2N}\). However, when \(\epsilon\neq 2N-2\), there are infinitely many complex eigenvalues. Thus, while the positive-spectrum sector of the Hamiltonian \(H=p^2+x^2(ix)^\epsilon\) has an unbroken PT symmetry (the eigenvalues are all real), the negative-spectrum sector of \(H=p^2+x^2(ix)^\epsilon\) has a broken PT symmetry (only some of the eigenvalues are real).
High Energy Physics – Theory (hep-th); Mathematical Physics (math-ph); Quantum Physics (quant-ph)