Variational principles, variational identities, and supervariational principles for wavefunctions

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We develop variational principles and variational identities for bound state and continuum wavefunctions in a general context, paying particular attention to the proper choice of defining equations and boundary conditions which will lead to unique and unambiguous wavefunctions even when these functions are complex. Any functional, such as a matrix element, calculated with such a variationally determined wavefunction, will also be accurate to second order in the error of the starting choice. This provides, therefore, an alternative procedure for getting variational estimates of matrix elements to the one that already exists in the literature and we establish the equivalence of the two. Of even more interest is the possibility which now seems open of going beyond the variational principle and generating " supervariational" estimates of wavefunctions and matrix elements which are good to better than second order. We also give a simple prescription for the construction of variational identities for wavefunctions, that is, identities which lead readily to variational principles and, more significantly, might well serve as a starting point for the development of variational bounds. Copyright © 1975 American Institute of Physics.

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Journal of Mathematical Physics

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