Pauli Spin Matrices

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Interact on desktop, mobile and cloud with the free Wolfram CDF Player or other Wolfram Language products.

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Edit on desktop, mobile and cloud with any Wolfram Language product.

The Pauli spin matrices , , and represent the intrinsic angular momentum components of spin- particles in quantum mechanics. Their matrix products are given by , where I is the 2×2 identity matrix, O is the 2×2 zero matrix and is the Levi-Civita permutation symbol. These products lead to the commutation and anticommutation relations and . The Pauli matrices transform as a 3-dimensional pseudovector (axial vector) related to the angular-momentum operators for spin- by . These, in turn, obey the canonical commutation relations . The three Pauli spin matrices are generators for the Lie group SU(2). In this Demonstration, you can display the products, commutators, or anticommutators of any two Pauli matrices. It is instructive to explore the combinations that represent spin-ladder operators.

Contributed by: S. M. Blinder (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


Snapshots


Details

Snapshots 1, 2: you can derive the commutation relations for the ladder operators and

Snapshot 3: the Pauli matrices mutually anticommute



Feedback (field required)
Email (field required) Name
Occupation Organization
Note: Your message & contact information may be shared with the author of any specific Demonstration for which you give feedback.
Send