The Metric Operator and the Functional Integral Formulation of Pseudo-Hermitian Quantum Mechanics

H. F. Jones


Pseudo-Hermitian quantum theories are those in which the Hamiltonian H satisfies H = ηHη-1, where η = e-Q is a positive-definite Hermitian operator, rather than the usual H = H. In the operator formulation of such theories the standard Hilbert-space metric must be modified by the inclusion of η in order to ensure their probabilistic interpretation. With possible generalizations to quantum field theory in mind, it is important to ask how the functional integral formalism for pseudo-Hermitian theories differs from that of standard theories. It turns out that here Q plays quite a different role, serving primarily to implement a canonical transformation of the variables. It does not appear explicitly in the expression for the vacuum generating functional. Instead, the relation to the Hermitian theory is encoded via the dependence of Z on the external source j(t). These points are illustrated and amplified in various versions of the Swanson model, a non-Hermitian transform of the simple harmonic oscillator.


quantum mechanics; functional integral; non-Hermitian

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague