Calculus for Functions of Noncommuting Operators and General Phase-Space Methods in Quantum Mechanics. I. Mapping Theorems and Ordering of Functions of Noncommuting Operators Academic Article uri icon


  • A new calculus for functions of noncommuting operators is developed, based on the notion of mapping of functions of operators onto c-number functions. The class of linear mappings, each member of which is characterized by an entire analytic function of two complex variables, is studied in detail. Closed-form solutions for such mappings and for the inverse mappings are obtained and various properties of these mappings are studied. It is shown that the most commonly occurring rules of association between operators and c-numbers (the Weyl, the normal, the antinormal, the standard, and the antistandard rules) belong to this class and are, in fact, the simplest ones in a clearly defined sense. It is shown further that the problem of expressing an operator in an ordered form according to some prescribed rule is equivalent to an appropriate mapping of the operator on a c-number space. The theory provides a systematic technique for the solution of numerous quantum-mechanical problems that were treated in the past by ad hoc methods, and it furnishes a new approach to many others. This is illustrated by a number of examples relating to mappings and ordering of operators. 1970 The American Physical Society.

published proceedings

  • Physical Review D

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Agarwal, G. S., & Wolf, E.

citation count

  • 494

complete list of authors

  • Agarwal, GS||Wolf, E

publication date

  • November 1970