Introduction to quantum mechanics: a time-dependent perspective

Introduction to quantum mechanics: a time-dependent perspective

David Tannor

Sausalito, US: University Science Books2008 | 65pp | ?35.95 (SB) ISBN 9780470013069

Reviewed by Marcelo de Miranda 

Why do people keep writing quantum mechanics textbooks? In many cases, because among the countless books already available they could not find one covering the appropriate material at the right level or in an adequate way.

That is indeed the motivation here, and Tannor has a strong case. Although time-dependent (TD) methods constitute a large and important part of modern quantum mechanics, current textbooks invariably focus on time-independent (TI) problems and techniques.

So, here is a textbook that places wave packets and the TD Schr?dinger equation at centre stage right from the word go and keeps them there throughout. This has pedagogical advantages; a significant one is the enhanced usefulness of classical intuition, manifest particularly in the relation between wave packet motion and the classical notion of a trajectory.

Another strong point of the book is the range of topics considered. It discusses the essentials of TD quantum mechanics (wave packets, coherent states, correlation functions, Fourier transforms, etc), but also computational techniques and a number of timely problems: multiphoton spectroscopy, dynamics of molecules under strong fields, various aspects of femtochemistry including the clocking and coherent control of molecular fragmentation, and also TD approaches to the dynamics of photodissociation and reactive molecular collisions.

While suitable for advanced quantum mechanics courses, this very good book is likely to be most useful for practitioners of quantum mechanics, in particular those at early stages of a career involving research in molecular dynamics.