Wavefunction of Spin One-Half Particle

(5.15) |

It is helpful to think of the ket as the product of two kets--a position-space ket , and a spin-space ket . We assume that such a product obeys the commutative and distributive axioms of multiplication:

(5.16) | ||

(5.17) | ||

(5.18) |

where the 's are numbers. We can give meaning to any position space operator (such as ) acting on the product by assuming that it operates only on the factor, and commutes with the factor. Similarly, we can give a meaning to any spin operator (such as ) acting on by assuming that it operates only on , and commutes with . This implies that every position space operator commutes with every spin operator. In this manner, we can give a meaning to the equation

The multiplication in the previous equation is of a quite different type to
any that we have encountered previously. The ket vectors
and
lie in two completely separate vector spaces, and their product
lies in a third vector space.
In mathematics, the latter space
is termed the *product space* of the former spaces, which are
termed *factor spaces*. The dimensionality a product space is equal to the product of the dimensionalities
of each of the factor spaces. Actually, a general ket in the product space is not
of the form (5.19), but is instead a sum, or integral, of kets of this form.

A general state, , of a spin one-half particle is represented as a ket, , in the product of the spin and position spaces. This state can be completely specified by two wavefunctions:

(5.20) | ||

(5.21) |

The probability of observing the particle in the region to , to , and to , with , is . Likewise, the probability of observing the particle in the region to , to , and to , with , is . The normalization condition for the wavefunctions is

(5.22) |