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Investigating student understanding of basic quantum mechanics in the context of time-dependent perturbation theory Documents

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Investigating student understanding of basic quantum mechanics in the context of time-dependent perturbation theory 

written by Gina Passante, Paul J. Emigh, and Peter S. Shaffer

Recent research suggests that many students complete an undergraduate course on quantum mechanics without having developed a solid understanding of some important fundamental concepts. We are probing the ability of students to apply foundational ideas in quantum mechanics in a variety of contexts, including the complex problem of time-dependent perturbation theory. Based on student responses to lecture post-tests, tutorial pretests and post-tests, as well as individual student interviews, we are identifying persistent difficulties that students have in applying basic ideas about energy measurements and the time evolution of both energy eigenstates and superpositions of energy eigenstates. The results are guiding the creation and revision of tutorials on topics students typically encounter in the second half of their undergraduate instruction on quantum mechanics.

Published February 1, 2014
Last Modified February 1, 2014

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