Exploring the Harmonic Oscillator Wave Function Components©
Theresa Julia Zielinski
Department of Chemistry, Medical Technology, and Physics
Monmouth University
West Long Branch, NJ 07764-1898
United States
mail to: tzielins@monmouth.edu

The goal of this document is to have students explore the solutions to the quantum mechanical harmonic oscillator Schrodinger equation. Students examine the exponential component, generate and examine various Hermite polynomials, and create the final HO wave functions as a product of a normalization factor, the exponential component, and a Hermite polynomial. Students also prepare graphs of several Harmonic oscillator solutions and the probability density functions. Using Mathcad is an effective way for them to draw their own figures and master understanding of the concepts involved.
Editor's Commentary
Audiences: Upper-Division Undergraduate
Pedagogies: Computer-Based Learning
Domains: Physical Chemistry
Topics: Mathematics / Symbolic Mathematics, Quantum Chemistry
File NameDescriptionSoftware TypeSoftware Version
HOExploration11.mcd JCE Mathcad 11 Computational Document Mathcad 11
HOExploration11.pdf Read-Only Document
JCE JCE Subscribers only: name and password or institutional IP number access required.
Zielinski, T. J. J. Chem. Educ. 2007, 84, 1232.
Comments to: Theresa Julia Zielinski, tzielins@monmouth.edu
©Copyright 2007 Journal of Chemical Education