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Q & A: What is quantum degeneracy?

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Most recent answer: 06/15/2012
Q:
What is quantum degenaracy?Are the energy eigenvalues of the linear harmonic oscillator degenerate?
- Achouba (age 20)
Imphal,Manipur,India
A:
Quantum degeneracy just means that more than one quantum states have exactly the same energy.

A linear (1-D) simple harmonic oscillator (e.g. a mass-on-spring in 1-D) does not have any degenerate states. However in higher dimension harmonic oscillators do show degeneracy. For example, a 3-D oscillator has three independent first excited states. (Those are the states with one quantum of energy above the ground state.) It has 6 independent degenerate next higher-energy states.

Mike W.

(published on 06/15/2012)

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