The motion of wave packets can be easily determined for any Hamiltonian that is quadratic in position and momentum, even if the coefficients of the terms in the Hamiltonian vary with time. The method is based on the existence of an invariant operator, linear in position and momentum, the coefficients of these operators being solutions of the corresponding classical system. This immediately yields a set of very simple wave packets whose evolution is easily determined, and whose magnitude has the same form as the energy eigenfunctions of the harmonic oscillator (i.e., Gaussian or Hermite–Gaussian). This set provides a complete basis for finding the evolution of any state and the exact propagator is readily determined. For the harmonic oscillator, this set includes coherent states, squeezed states, displaced number states, and squeezed number states as special cases. The following important properties hold for every quadratic Hamiltonian, no matter what time dependence is present in the Hamiltonian: (1) The motion of the centroid of any wave packet separates from that of any moments relative to the centroid. (2) Every detail of the evolution of the quantum system can be calculated from the solutions of the corresponding classical system. (3) Wave functions of Gaussian (or Hermite–Gaussian) form will retain that form as they evolve.

## REFERENCES

*Quantum Mechanics*(Wiley, New York, 1970), 2nd ed., p. 165.

*Quantum Mechanics*(Pergamon, 1958), p. 9.

*Quantum Mechanics*(Wiley, New York, 1998), 3rd ed., p. 89.

*Fundamentals of Photonics*(Wiley, New York, 1991), p. 51.

*The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics*(McGraw-Hill, New York, 1966), p. 336.

*American Journal of Physics*and

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