Some prerequisites: series expansion, quantum mechanics, bra-ket notation.
I just recently discovered a satisfied explanation of the manipulations in non-degenerate time-independent quantum perturbation theory. I believe my discovery is not original. Even if it is I believe it is not of the level of publication in physics journals. Maybe, after some further polishes and additions, it might be publishable in some physics teaching journals. Well, I have no experience in publishing in this type of journals and do not wish to try it any time soon. More importantly, I believe it would be beneficial to students who start learning this topic. So it is more urgent to put it in my blog (although not many people would read mine anyway). I am sure that if I am satisfied with the analysis, students would be also satisfied.
2. Analysis often found in textbooks
The eigenstates are orthonormal, i.e. Note that we have limited the analysis to the non-degenerate case only.
Then in order to solve eq.(1), one first expands
One can also determine from eq.(8) by first expressing it in the basis of That is
Substituting this expression into eq.(8) gives
Acting on this equation by with gives
Note however that the expression of is not fixed by eq.(8). So up to this point, one has
- The equation (1) we are allowed to choose any normalisation and phase of So let us demand the normalisation By expanding in one obtains Furthermore, we can choose the phase such that is a real number. But this gives
- Alternatively, we do not yet wish to normalise But let us choose its scale such that By expanding in this gives
I have always been worried with these explanations as it is not clear to me (except after I learn of the analysis to be given in the next section) why we are still allowed to choose normalisation and phase of after we have fixed the normalisation of its zeroth order How can we see this explicitly? Or maybe how can we count the number of independent conditions against the number of coefficients to really see if we are allowed to impose further conditions; after all these numbers seem to be infinite anyway?
So although the analysis is still need to be continue in order to obtain let us end this section here and present an alternative analysis in which the above questions do not arise.
3. The analysis that I find it more satisfying
Next, let us act on eq.(17) by for This gives
The idea to obtain the spectrum of up to a desired accuracy is to make a repeated use of of eq.(18) and (21). However, we see that is not restricted by any condition. So we are allowed to fix it. But instead of fixing, I am more comfortable with defining a new ket