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With a number of special Hamiltonians, solutions of the Schrödinger equation may be found by separation of variables in more than one coordinate system. The class of potentials involved includes a number of important examples, including the isotropic harmonic oscillator and the Coulomb potential. Multiply separable Hamiltonians exhibit a number of interesting features, including “accidental” degeneracies in their bound state spectra and often classical bound state orbits that always close. We examine another potential, for which the Schrödinger equation is separable in both cylindrical and parabolic coordinates: A z-independent V𕔣/ρ2=1/(x2+y2) in three dimensions. All the persistent, bound classical orbits in this potential close, because all other orbits with negative energies fall to the center at ρ=0. When separated in parabolic coordinates, the Schrödinger equation splits into three individual equations, two of which are equivalent to the radial equation in a Coulomb potential—one equation with an attractive potential, the other with an equally strong repulsive potential.

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APA Citation

DeCosta, R., & Altschul, B. (2020). Separability of the Planar 1/ρ2 Potential in Multiple Coordinate Systems. Symmetry, 12(8), 1312.

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