Calculus for Functions of Noncommuting Operators and General Phase-Space Methods in Quantum Mechanics. III. A Generalized Wick Theorem and Multitime Mapping Academic Article uri icon


  • The new c-number calculus for functions of noncommuting operators, developed in Paper I and employed in Paper II to formulate a general phase-space description of boson systems, deals with situations involving equal-time operators only. In the present paper extensions are presented for the treatment of problems involving boson operators at two or more instants of time. The mapping of time-ordered products onto c-number functions is studied in detail. The results make it possible to evaluate time-ordered products of boson operators by phase-space techniques. The usual Wick theorem for boson systems is obtained as a special case of a much more general theorem on time ordering. Our method of derivation appears to provide the first direct proof of Wick's theorem as well as a clear insight into its true meaning. A closed expression is also obtained for the time-evolution operator in terms of the solution of the c-number differential equation for the phase-space equivalent of this operator. The new calculus is also applied to the problem of evaluating normally ordered time-ordered, and also the antinormally ordered time-ordered, correlation functions. 1970 The American Physical Society.

published proceedings

  • Physical Review D

author list (cited authors)

  • Agarwal, G. S., & Wolf, E.

citation count

  • 163

complete list of authors

  • Agarwal, GS||Wolf, E

publication date

  • November 1970