Eduardo Munguia-Gonzalez, Sheldon Rego, J. K. Freericks
With the successes of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, we anticipate increased interest in working with squeezed states in the undergraduate and graduate quantum-mechanics classroom. Because squeezed-coherent states are minimum uncertainty states, their wavefunctions in position and momentum space must be Gaussians. But this result is rarely discussed in treatments of squeezed states in quantum textbooks or quantum optics textbooks. In this work, we show three different ways to construct the wavefunction for squeezed-coherent states: (i) a differential equation-based approach; (ii) an approach that uses an expansion in terms of the simple-harmonic oscillator wavefunctions; and (iii) a fully operator-based approach. We do this to illustrate that the concept of the wavefunction can be introduced no matter what methodology an instructor wishes to use. We hope that working with the wavefunction will help demystify the concept of a squeezed-coherent state.
Comments: (27 pages, 1 figure, accepted for publication in Am. J. Phys.)