## HAMILTONIAN MECHANICS

### ***************

### Lectures Notes 2016/2017

### A. Ponno

### May 17, 2017

**Contents**

**1** **Introduction to Hamiltonian systems** **5**

1.1 Poisson structures . . . 5

1.2 Change of variables . . . 12

1.2.1 Canonical transformations . . . 16

1.3 Hamiltonian perturbation theory . . . 21

1.3.1 Application to quantum mechanics I . . . 27

1.3.2 Application to quantum mechanics II . . . 29

**2** **Infinite Dimensional Systems** **31**
2.1 Wave equation(s) . . . 31

2.2 Quantum Mechanics . . . 60

2.3 Abstract wave equations . . . 79

2.4 Classical Spin systems . . . 86

**Appendices** **100**

**A Hierarchy of structures in topology and their utility** **101**

**Bibliography** **105**

3

**Chapter 1**

**Introduction to Hamiltonian systems**

**1.1** **Poisson structures**

The evolution in time of physical systems is described by differential equations of the form

˙x = u(x) , (1.1)

where the vector field u(x) is defined on some phase spaceΓ, i.e. the space of all the possible states of the system.

**Remark 1.1. From a topological point of view, the phase space**Γof the system has to be a Ba-
nach (i.e. normed complete vector) space. This is due to the necessity to guarantee the existence
and uniqueness of the solution x(t) =Φ^{t}^{(x}0) to the differential equation (1.1), for any initial
conditionx(0) = x0∈Γ^{and any}t ∈ I0⊆ R; see Appendix A and reference [22].

Very often, Γ turns out to be a Hilbert space, i.e. a Euclidean space that is Banach with
respect to the norm induced by the scalar product. This happens obviously if Γ ^{has finite}
dimension or, for example, in the theory of the classical (linear and nonlinear) PDEs, such
as the wave and the heat equations, and in quantum mechanics. In this case equation (1.1)
can be written by components, namely ˙x_{i} = ui(x_{1}, x_{2}, . . . ), i ∈ N, where the xi’s are called the
components, coordinates or Fourier coefficients of x in a given basis { ˆe^{(i)}}_{i∈N} of the Hilbert
space: x =P

ix_{i}ˆe^{(i)}, xi := ˆe^{(i)}· x (the scalar product is here denoted by a central dot). In the
sequel, we will always suppose that a the phase space of the system is endowed at least with
a Euclidean structure (i.e. Γis a linear space with a scalar product), of the Hilbert type when
necessary.

Hamiltonian systems are those particular dynamical systems whose phase spaceΓ ^{is en-}
dowed with a Poisson structure, according to the following definition.

5

**Definition 1.1 (Poisson bracket). Let** A^{(}Γ) be the algebra (i.e. vector space with a bilinear
product) of real smooth (i.e.C^{∞}) functions defined onΓ. A function { , } :A^{(}Γ) ×A^{(}Γ) →A^{(}Γ^{) is}
called a Poisson bracket onΓif it satisfies the following properties:

1. {F, G} = −{G, F} ∀F,G ∈A^{(}Γ) (skew-symmetry);

2. {*αF + βG, H} = α{F, H} + β{G, H} ∀α,β ∈ R and ∀F,G, H ∈*A^{(}Γ) (left linearity);

3. {F, {G, H}} + {G,{H, F}} + {H,{F,G}} = 0 ∀F,G, H ∈A^{(}Γ) (Jacobi identity);

4. {FG, H} = F{G, H} + {F, H}G ∀F,G, H ∈A^{(}Γ) (left Leibniz rule).

The pair (A^{(}Γ), { , }) is a Poisson algebra, i.e. a Lie algebra (a vector space with a skew-
symmetric, left-linear and Jacobi product) satisfying the Leibniz rule. Observe that 1. and 2.

in the above definition imply right-linearity, so that the Poisson bracket is actually bi-linear.

Observe also that 1. and 4. imply the right Leibniz rule.

**Definition 1.2 (Hamiltonian system). Given a Poisson algebra (**A^{(}Γ), { , }), a Hamiltonian sys-
tem on Γ is a dynamical system described by a differential equation of the form (1.1) whose
vector field has the form

u_{i}(x) = [XH(x)]_{i}:= {xi, H} .
whereH ∈A^{(}Γ) is called the Hamiltonian of the system.

The following proposition holds:

**Proposition 1.1. A skew-symmetric, bi-linear Leibniz bracket {**, } onΓis such that
{F, G} = ∇F · J∇G :=X

j,k

µ*∂F*

*∂x*j

¶
J_{jk}(x)

µ*∂G*

*∂x*k

¶

, (1.2)

for allF, G ∈A^{(}Γ^{), where}

J_{jk}(x) := {xj, x_{k}}. (1.3)

The bracket at hand is Jacobi-like, i.e. it is a Poisson bracket, iff the operator function J(x) satisfies the relation:

X

s

µ

J_{is}*∂J*jk

*∂x*s

+ Jjs*∂J*ki

*∂x*s

+ Jks

*∂J*i j

*∂x*s

¶

= 0 (1.4)

for anyx ∈Γ^{and any} ^{i, j, k.}

C PROOF. As a preliminary remark, we observe that from the Leibniz rule and from the
linearity property it follows that {F, c} = 0 for any F ∈A^{(}Γ) and any c ∈ R. Indeed, one has
{F, c} = {F, c · 1} = c{F,1} + {F, c}1, so that {F,1} = 0 and c{F,1} = {F, c} = 0. Now, the bracket
{F, G} is, by definition, a function of x ∈Γ. Let us expand G close to x to first order, with
remainder in Lagrange form, namely

G( y) = G(x) +X

k

( y_{k}− xk)*∂G*

*∂y*k

(*ξ) ,*

1.1. POISSON STRUCTURES 7
where*ξ is a point of the segment x − y. Inserting such expansion into the Poisson bracket and*
taking into account that {F, G(x)}( y) = 0 and {F, xk}( y) = 0, one finds

{F, G}( y) =X

k

( y_{k}− xk)

½
F, *∂G*

*∂y*k

(*ξ)*

¾ +X

k

{F, y_{k}}*∂G*

*∂y*k

(*ξ) ,*
whose limit y → x yields

{F, G} =

n

X

k=1

{F, x_{k}}*∂G*

*∂x*k

.

With the same argument and exploiting the skew-symmetry one gets
{F, x_{k}} = −{xk, F} = −

n

X

j=1

{x_{k}, x_{j}}*∂F*

*∂x*j =

n

X

j=1

*∂F*

*∂x*j

{x_{j}, x_{k}},

that inserted in the previous expression for {F, G} gives (1.2) and (1.3).

The condition (1.4) is checked by a direct computation. One has {F, {G, H}} = ∇F · J∇(∇G · J∇H) = X

is jk

*∂F*

*∂x*i

J_{is} *∂*

*∂x*s

µ*∂G*

*∂x*j

J_{jk}*∂H*

*∂x*k

¶

=

= X

is jk

·*∂F*

*∂x*i

J_{is} *∂*^{2}G

*∂x*s*∂x*j

J_{jk}*∂H*

*∂x*k

+*∂F*

*∂x*i

J_{is} *∂*^{2}H

*∂x*s*∂x*k

J_{jk}*∂G*

*∂x*j

+*∂F*

*∂x*i

*∂G*

*∂x*j

*∂H*

*∂x*k

J_{is}*∂J*jk

*∂x*s

¸

=

= ∇F · µ

J*∂*^{2}G

*∂x*^{2} J

¶

∇H − ∇F · µ

J*∂*^{2}H

*∂x*^{2} J

¶

∇G +X

is jk

*∂F*

*∂x*i

*∂G*

*∂x*j

*∂H*

*∂x*k

J_{is}*∂J*jk

*∂x*s

.

Now, exploiting the skew-symmetry of J and the consequent symmetry of a matrix of the form J(hessian)J, and suitably cycling over the functions F, G, H and over the indices i, j, k, one gets

{F, {G, H}} + {G,{H, F}} + {H,{F,G}} =X

i jk

*∂F*

*∂x*i

*∂G*

*∂x*j

*∂H*

*∂x*k

· X

s

µ

J_{is}*∂J*jk

*∂x*s

+ Jjs*∂J*ki

*∂x*s

+ Jks

*∂J*i j

*∂x*s

¶¸

.

Such an expression is identically zero for all F, G, H ∈A^{(}Γ) iff (1.4) holds. Indeed, sufficiency
(if) is obvious, whereas necessity (only if) is obtained by choosing F = xi, G = xjand F = xk and
varying i, j, k.B

As a consequence of the above proposition, the Hamiltonian vector fields are of the form (put F = xi and G = H in (1.2))

X_{H}(x) := {x, H} = J(x)∇xH(x) , (1.5)
i.e. are proportional to the gradient of the Hamiltonian function through the function operator
J(x) := {x, x}. The latter operator, when (1.4) is satisfied, takes the name of Poisson tensor, and
generalizes the symplectic matrix of standard Hamiltonian mechanics (i.e. the one following
from finite-dimensional Lagrangian mechanics).

**Remark 1.2. According to what just shown above,any constant skew-symmetric tensor is**
**a Poisson tensor (explain why).**

**Remark 1.3. The standard formula expressing the derivative of a function F(x) along the flow**
of ˙x = XH(x) in terms of the Poisson bracket of F and H holds, namely

dF

dt = ∇F · XH= ∇F · J∇H = {F, H} . (1.6)
**Remark 1.4. The deep meaning of the Jacobi identity (3. in Definition 1.1, or its equivalent**
(1.4)), is the following. Given two functions F and G, and their Poisson bracket {F, G}, the
relation (1.6) implies ˙F = {F, H}, ˙G = {G, H} and{F, G} = {{F,G}, H}. One then easily checks that˙
the identity

{F˙, G} = { ˙F, G} + {F, ˙G} (1.7) holds iff the Jacobi identity holds. In other words, the Jacobi identity is equivalent to the Leibniz rule on the Poisson bracket with respect to the time derivative.

A Poisson tensor J(x) is singular at x if there exists a vector field u(x) 6≡ 0 such that
J(x)u(x) = 0, i.e. if ker J(x) is nontrivial. The functions C(x) such that ∇C(x) ∈ ker J(x) have a
vanishing Poisson bracket with any other function F defined onΓ^{, since {F}, C} = ∇F · J∇C ≡ 0
independently of F. Such special functions are called Casimir invariants associated to the
given Poisson tensor J, and are constants of motion of any Hamiltonian system with vector
field X_{H} associated to J, i.e. ˙C = {C, H} = −{H, C} = −∇H · J∇C ≡ 0, which holds independently
of H.

**Example 1.1. The Euler equations, describing the evolution of the angular momentum** **L of a**
rigid body in a co-moving frame and in absence of external torque (moment of external forces),
read ˙**L = L ∧ I**^{−1}**L, where I is the inertia tensor of the body (a 3 × 3 symmetric, positive definite**
matrix) and ∧ denotes the standard vector product in R^{3}. This is a Hamiltonian system with
Hamiltonian function**H(L) =**^{1}_{2}**L · I**^{−1}**L and Poisson tensor**

**J(L) :=**

0 −L3 L_{2}
L_{3} 0 −L1

−L2 L_{1} 0

**= L ∧ .** (1.8)

In this way, the Euler equations have the standard form ˙**L = J(L)∇****L****H(L), and the Poisson**
bracket of two functions **F(L) and G(L) is {F, G} = L · (∇G ∧ ∇F) (one has of course to check**
that**J(L), as defined above, is actually a Poisson tensor, which is left as an exercise; see below).**

We notice that the Casimir invariants of **J(L) are all the functions C(L) := f¡|L|**^{2}¢, since ∇C =
f^{0}**¡|L|**^{2}**¢ 2L, so that J(L)∇C = L ∧ (2f**^{0}**L) = 0.**

**Exercise 1.1. Prove that the tensor (1.8) satisfies relation (1.4). Hint: observe that one can**
write J_{i j}**(L) = {L**i, L_{j}} = −P3

k=1*ε*i jkL_{k}, where *ε*i jk is the Levi-Civita symbol with three indices
*i, j, k = 1,2,3, so defined: ε*i jk *= +1 if (i, j, k) is an even permutation of (1, 2, 3); ε*i jk = −1 if
(i, j, k) is an odd permutation of (1, 2, 3) and *ε*i jk= 0 if any two indices are equal (recall that a
permutation is even or odd when it is composed by an even or odd number of pair exchanges,
respectively). The following relation turns out to be useful:

3

X

i=1

*ε*i jk*ε*ilm*= δ*jl*δ*km*− δ*kl*δ*jm , (1.9)
where*δ*i j is the Kronecker delta, whose value is 1 if i = j and zero otherwise.

1.1. POISSON STRUCTURES 9
**Example 1.2. In the “standard case” x = (q, p), where q ∈ R**^{n} is the vector of generalized co-
ordinates and p ∈ R^{n} is the vector of the conjugate momenta. The Hamilton equations read
*q = ∂H/∂p, ˙p = −∂H/∂q, or, in compact form ˙x = J*˙ 2n∇xH, where

J_{2n}:=

µ On In

−In On

¶

(1.10)
is the 2n × 2n standard symplectic matrix, independent of x. The Poisson bracket reads then
{F, G} = ∇F · J2n∇G =^{∂F}* _{∂q}*·

^{∂G}*−*

_{∂p}

^{∂F}*·*

_{∂p}

^{∂G}*. Everything extends to the casen → +∞, but for matters of convergence.*

_{∂q}We recall that the standard form of the Hamilton equations just mentioned is implied by that of the Euler-Lagrange equations when passing from the Lagrangian to the Hamiltonian formalism through a Legendre transformation, if this is possible.

**Example 1.3. Let us consider a single harmonic oscillator, with Hamiltonian H =**^{1}_{2}¡ p^{2}*+ ω*^{2}q^{2}¢,
and introduce the complex variables *z = (ωq + ıp)/*p

2*ω and z*^{∗} *= (ωq − ıp)/*p

2*ω, where ı is*
the imaginary unit. In terms of such complex coordinates, known as complex Birkhoff coor-
dinates, the Hamiltonian readsH(z, z^{∗}*) = ω|z|*^{2}, and the Hamilton equations become ˙*z = −ıωz =*

*−ı∂ e*H/*∂z*^{∗} and its complex conjugate ˙z^{∗}*= ıωz*^{∗}*= ı∂ e*H/*∂z. The new Poisson tensor is the second*
Pauli matrix^{1},* σ*2=

µ 0 −ı ı 0

¶

= −ıJ2, that satisfies condition (1.4) because is constant (indepen-
dent ofz and z^{∗}). Thus, with respect to the Birkhoff vector*ζ = (z, z*^{∗})^{T}, the equations of motion
of the Harmonic oscillator take on the new Hamiltonian form ˙* ζ = σ*2∇

*ζ*H.

As further coordinates for the harmonic oscillator one can introduce the so-called action- angle variables. The latter are linked to the Birkhoff coordinates by the relations z =p

I e* ^{−ıϕ}*,
z

^{∗}=p

I e^{ıϕ}. Observing that*H = ω|z|*^{2}*= ωI, so that ˙I = 0, from the equation of motion ˙z = −ıωz*
it follows that ˙*ϕ = ω. Thus the equations of motion in the action-angle variables read ˙ϕ = ∂H/∂I,*
*I = −∂H/∂ϕ, with the standard symplectic matrix J*˙ 2as Poisson tensor.

**Example 1.4. The wave equation u**_{tt}= c^{2}u_{xx} is an example of infinite dimensional Hamilto-
nian system. For what concerns the boundary conditions we consider the case of fixed ends:

u(t, 0) = 0 = u(t, L), ut(t, 0) = 0 = ut(t, L). One can also write the wave equation in the equivalent first order form

½ u_{t}= v

v_{t}= c^{2}u_{xx} , (1.11)

where fixed ends conditions hold now on v. The initial conditions for the latter system are
u_{0}(x) := u(0, x) and v0(x) := v(0, x). The quantity

H(u, v) =
Z _{L}

0

v^{2}+ c^{2}(ux)^{2}

2 dx (1.12)

1The three Pauli matrices are
* σ*1:=

µ 0 1 1 0

¶

;* σ*2:=

µ 0 −ı

ı 0

¶

; * σ*3:=

µ 1 0 0 −1

¶ .

is easily checked to be a constant of motion for system (1.11).

Now, the set of functions ˆe^{(k)}(x) :=p

2/L sin(*πkx/L), k = 1,2,..., constitutes an orthonormal*
basis in the Hilbert space L_{2}([0, L]) of square integrable functions on [0, L] with fixed ends,
since one easily checks thatR_{L}

0 ˆe^{(i)}(x) ˆe^{( j)}*(x)dx = δ*i j. One can thus expand bothu(t, x) and v(t, x)
in Fourier series: u(t, x) =P

k≥1q_{k}(t) ˆe^{(k)}(x), v(t, x) =P

k≥1p_{k}(t) ˆe^{(k)}(x), with Fourier coefficients
given byq_{k}(t) =RL

0 u(t, x) ˆe^{(k)}(x)dx and p_{k}(t) =RL

0 v(t, x) ˆe^{(k)}(x)dx, respectively. Upon substitution
of the latter Fourier expansions into the wave equation system (1.11) one easily gets ˙q_{k}= pk,

˙

p_{k}*= −ω*^{2}_{k}q_{k}, where *ω*k*:= cπk/L, k ≥ 1. These are the Hamilton equations of a system of in-*
finitely many harmonic oscillators, with Hamiltonian K (q, p) =P

k≥1(p^{2}_{k}*+ ω*^{2}_{k}q^{2}

k)/2, which is
obviously integrable (in the Liouville sense). One easily finds that the substitution of the Fourier
expansions of u and v into the function (1.12) yields H = K; to such a purpose, notice that
R_{L}

0(u_{x})^{2}dx = uux|^{L}_{0}−R_{L}

0 uu_{xx}dx.

The solution of the Cauchy problem for the wave equation u_{tt}= c^{2}u_{xx} is thus immediately
found:

u(t, x) =X

k≥1

·

q_{k}(0) cos(*ω*kt) +p_{k}(0)
*ω*k

sin(*ω*kt)

¸

e^{(k)}(x), (1.13)

where q_{k}(0) =RL

0 u_{0}(x) ˆe^{(k)}(x)dx and p_{k}(0) =RL

0 v_{0}(x) ˆe^{(k)}(x)dx are determined by the initial con-
ditions.

Notice that if the Fourier coefficients of the string are initially zero for some given value
of the index, then they are zero forever. In particular, if they are zero from some given value
of the index on, then they are zero for any t: if q_{k}(0) = 0 = pk(0) for k > M then qk(t) = 0 =
p_{k}(t) for k > M. As a consequence, one can construct solutions of the string equation of any
finite dimension M. The finite dimensional system thus obtained consists of M noninteracting
harmonic oscillators. In particular, such a system is integrable in the Liouville sense: there
exist M independent first integrals H1, . . . HM in involution, i.e. such that {Hi, Hj} = 0 for any
i, j = 1,..., M. In the specific case, the first integrals are the energies of the oscillators and
the Hamiltonian is simply the sum of them. Such a property is valid for any M and is clearly
preserved in the limit M → +∞ (the only attention to be paid deals with convergence problems).

**Exercise 1.2. Fill in all the “gaps” in the previous example and try to write down explicitly the**
Poisson tensor of the system.

**Example 1.5. Quantum mechanics, in its simplest version, is build up as follows. One starts**
from the classical HamiltonianH =P_{N}

j=1

**|p**j|^{2}

2mj **+U(x**1**, . . . , x**N) of a given system of N interacting
**particles, and therein substitutes all the momenta: p**_{j}→ −ıħ∇j, where ħ ' 10^{−27}er g · sec is the
normalized Planck constant^{2}and ∇j* := ∂/∂x*j. Such a procedure is referred to as the “canonical
quantization” of the classical system. The operator thus obtained, namely

Hˆ _{:= −}

N

X

j=1

ħ^{2}∆j

2mj **+U(x**1**, . . . , x**_{N}), (1.14)

2The Planck constant is h ' 6.626 10^{−27}er g · sec; the normalized constant, which actually enters the theory, is
*ħ := h/(2π).*

1.1. POISSON STRUCTURES 11
where ∆j is the Laplacian with respect to the coordinates of the j-th particle, is referred to as
the quantum Hamiltonian, or Hamiltonian operator (or simply Hamiltonian, if the quantum
mechanical context is given for granted) of the system. Hˆ is naturally defined on a certain
domainD ⊆ R^{3N}(depending onU) of the configuration space, and is easily checked to be Hermi-
tian (or even self-adjoint) on the Hilbert space L_{2}(D) of square integrable functions vanishing
on *∂D, i.e., denoting by 〈F,G〉 := R*_{D}F^{∗}GdV the scalar product (dV := d^{3}x_{1}. . . d^{3}x_{N}), one has

HˆF, G® = F, ˆHG®. The latter condition is usually denoted by ˆH_{= ˆ}H^{†} that, in the sequel, will be
always meant to denote self-adjointness.

The Schrödinger equation describing the quantum dynamics of the given system of N parti- cles is

ıħ*∂*Ψ

*∂t* = ˆHΨ^{,} ^{(1.15)}

where the complex function Ψ^{(t, x}1**, . . . , x**_{N}) is the so-called “wave function” of the system, sat-
isfying the boundary conditionΨ|*∂D*= 0. Notice that the unitary evolution (1.15) implies that
R

D|Ψ|^{2}dV is independent of time; in other words,Ψ|_{t=0}∈ L2(D) impliesΨ∈ L2(D) for any t ∈ R.

The physical meaning of Ψ ^{is that} ^{R}_{A}|Ψ|^{2}dV is the probability of finding the particles in the
regionA ⊆ D of the configuration space at time t.

We now suppose that the spectrum of the Hamiltonian operator (1.14) is discrete, and denote
by {Φj}_{j} and {E_{j}}_{j} the set of orthonormal eigenfunctions and of the corresponding eigenvalues
of ˆH, respectively, so that ˆHΦj= EjΦj, and

Φk,Φj® := RΦ^{∗}_{k}Φj*dV = δ*k j. One can then expand
the wave-functionΨon the basis of the eigenfunctions of ˆH:Ψ=P

jc_{j}Φj. Substituting the latter
expression into the Schrödinger equation (1.15) and taking the scalar product withΦk one gets

ı ˙c_{k}*= ω*kc_{k} ; *ω*k:=E_{k}

ħ , (1.16)

valid for any “index”k. The latter equation is that of the harmonic oscillator in complex Birkhoff coordinates, so that the Hamiltonian of the system is

K (c, c^{∗}) =X

j

E_{j}|cj|^{2}. (1.17)

Equation (1.16) reads thusı ˙c_{k}= ħ^{−1}*∂K/∂c*^{∗}_{k}for anyk. Making use of the expansionΨ=P

jc_{j}Φj

of the wave function one easily checks that
K (c, c^{∗}) =

Ψ^{, ˆ}HΨ^{® ,} ^{(1.18)}

known as the “quantum expectation of the total energy”. One can easily check that the conserva- tion ofK =

Ψ^{, ˆ}HΨ® follows directly from the Schrödinger equation with the condition that ˆHis
Another conserved quantity is clearly

Z

D|Ψ|^{2}dV = 〈Ψ^{,}Ψ〉 =X

j

|cj|^{2}(= 1) . (1.19)

The solution of the Cauchy problem for the Schrödinger equation (1.15) is
Ψ^{(t, x}1**, . . . , x**_{N}) =X

k

c_{k}(0)e^{−ı(E}^{k}^{/ħ)t}Φk**(x**_{1}**, . . . , x**_{N}), (1.20)

where c_{k}(0) = 〈Φk,Ψ〉 |t=0. The solution (1.20) can be obtained also by introducing the formal
solution of the Schrödinger equation in the operator form, namely

Ψ(t) = e^{−ı}

Hˆ

ħtΨ(0) := ˆU^{t}Ψ^{(0)}^{,} ^{(1.21)}
where the unitary evolution operator ˆU^{t} _{:= e}^{−ı( ˆ}^{H}^{/ħ)t} has been introduced. Expanding the wave
functionΨ(0) on the basis of the eigenfunctionsΦj of ˆHand observing that ˆU^{t}Φj= e^{−ı(E}^{j}^{/ħ)t}Φj,
one gets (1.20).

Thus when the spectrum of ˆHis purely discrete, as just assumed above, the quantum me- chanical problem of any system of interacting particles is essentially equivalent to that of a vibrating string: the dynamics of the system is decomposed into its “normal modes”, i.e. a col- lection of noninteracting harmonic oscillators, and is thus integrable in the classical Liouville sense. In this respect, no relaxation phenomenon can take place if the system is left free to evolve, isolated from external perturbations. Things are instead quite different in the presence of a continuous spectral component of ˆH, as can be seen through simple examples.

**Exercise 1.3. Consider a free particle of mass m free to move on the real line. Quantize the**
problem and solve the Schrödinger equation both in the case of a particle moving on the interval
[0,*`] and on the whole real line, by carefully studying the spectrum of ˆ*H. Show that in the case
of a free particle on the whole line the probability of finding the particle inside any finite interval
[a, b] at time t tends asymptotically to zero as t → ∞.

**1.2** **Change of variables**

Let us consider a Hamiltonian dynamical system

˙x = J(x)∇xH(x) , (x ∈Γ^{)} ^{(1.22)}

and perform a change of variables f : x 7→ y = f (x), with inverse g := f^{−1}: y 7→ x = g(y). The
gradients with respect to x and y are connected by the chain rule, namely

*∂*

*∂x*i

=X

j

µ*∂y*j

*∂x*i

¶ *∂*

*∂y*j

i.e. ∇x=
µ*∂f*

*∂x*

¶T

∇y.

The Jacobians of f and g are instead linked by the identity
µ*∂g*

*∂y*

¶_{−1}

=*∂f*

*∂x*(g( y))

that in turn follows differentiating the identity f (g( y)) = y. Using such relations one immedi- ately shows that in the new variables the Hamilton equation (1.22) reads

˙y = J^{#}( y)∇yH( y) ,e ( y ∈ f (Γ^{))} ^{(1.23)}
where

H( y) := H(g(y)) ,e (1.24)

1.2. CHANGE OF VARIABLES 13 and

J^{#}( y) :=

µ*∂f*

*∂x*

¶ J(x)

µ*∂f*

*∂x*

¶T¯

¯

¯

¯

¯x=g(y)

=
µ*∂g*

*∂y*

¶_{−1}

J(g( y))
µ*∂g*

*∂y*

¶_{−T}

, (1.25)

where the superscript −T on the right hand side of the latter definition means inverse and
transpose^{3}.

The first question that naturally poses is whether and when equation (1.23) is still Hamil-
tonian, i.e. whether and when the tensor J^{#}( y), defined in (1.25), is a Poisson tensor. The
equivalent (and deeper) question is how a given Poisson algebra transforms under change of
variables. In this respect, the following proposition holds.

**Proposition 1.2. Poisson brackets are characterized by coordinate-independent properties.**

C PROOF. Given a Poisson bracket {F, G}(x) = ∇F(x) · J(x)∇G(x) we want to show that it
**transforms into another Poisson bracket under any change of variables f : x 7→ y; as above,**
when convenient, g := f^{−1}. According to (1.24), a tilde denotes composition with the inverse,
namelyF( y) := F(g(y)). By means of (1.25) one findse

{F, G}( y) = {F,G}(g(y)) =

"

µ*∂f*

*∂x*

¶T

∇yF

#

· J(x)
µ*∂f*

*∂x*

¶T

∇yG

¯

¯

¯

¯

¯x=g(y)

=

= ∇yF( y) ·e

"

µ*∂g*

*∂y*

¶_{−1}

J(g( y))
µ*∂g*

*∂y*

¶_{−T}#

∇yG( y) =e

= ∇yF( y) · Je ^{#}( y)∇yG( y) := { ee F, eG}_{#}( y). (1.26)
Equivalently, with notation independent of coordinates, one has

{F, G} = { eF, eG}_{#} ⇔ {F,G} ◦ g = {F ◦ g,G ◦ g}# . (1.27)
We must show that the bracket {F, ee G}#, formally defined in the last step of (1.26), is an actual
Poisson bracket on the algebra of the transformed (i.e. “tilded”) functions. To this end, we
observe that skew-symmetry, bi-linearity and the Leibniz property follow directly from those
of { , }, through the identity (1.27) (show it). In fact, repeated use of the latter relation also
implies the validity of the Jacobi identity:

0 ≡ {Fã, {G, H}} + ã{G, {H, F}} + ã{H, {F, G}} =

= { eF, â{G, H} }_{#}+ { eG,{H, F}} _{#}+ { eH, {F, G}}_{#}=

= { eF, { eG,H}e _{#}}_{#}+ { eG, {H,e F}e _{#}}_{#}+ { eH, {F, ee G}_{#}}_{#}. (1.28)
Thus, the change of variables f transforms Poisson brackets into Poisson Brackets.B

Since { , }_{#} is a Poisson bracket, it follows that (1.25) is a Poisson tensor and that, as a
**consequence, the transformed system (1.23) is Hamiltonian. The conclusion is that a given**
**dynamical system is Hamiltonian independently of the coordinates chosen.**

3For any invertible operator L one has LL^{−1}= I, so that (LL^{−1})^{T}= (L^{−1})^{T}L^{T}= I and (L^{T})^{−1}= (L^{−1})^{T}. Thus the
notation L^{−T} is well defined, independent of the order of the inversion and of the transposition.

A convenient way to characterize the transformation of a Poisson tensor under a given
change of variables is the following. First, from (1.3) it follows that J^{#}( y) = {yi, y_{j}}_{#}. On the
other hand, (1.27) implies J_{i j}^{#}( y) = {fi, f_{j}}(g( y)). Thus, the identity

{ y_{i}, y_{j}}_{#}= { fi, f_{j}} ◦ g (1.29)
holds for any change of variables f : x 7→ y. Notice that (1.29) also follows from (1.27) with the
choice F = fi and G = fj. It must be stressed that in the bracket on the left hand side of (1.29)
y is the independent variable, whereas in the bracket on the right hand side the independent
variable is x (and the composition with g yields back a function of y).

**Example 1.6. Let us reconsider the example of the complex Birkhoff coordinates for the har-**
monic oscillator. Let us set x = (q, p)^{T} and y = (z, z^{∗})^{T}, so that the change of variables y = f (x)
is defined by the formulas *z = (ωq + ıp)/*p

2*ω, z*^{∗}*= (ωq − ıp)/*p

2*ω. Formula (1.25) for the trans-*
formed Poisson tensor reads

J^{#} = *∂(z, z*^{∗})

*∂(q, p)*

µ 0 1

−1 0

¶*∂(z, z*^{∗})

*∂(q, p)*

T

=

= µ p

*ω/2* ı/p
2*ω*
p*ω/2 −ı/*p

2*ω*

¶ µ 0 1

−1 0

¶ µ p

*ω/2* p

*ω/2*
ı/p

2*ω −ı/*p
2*ω*

¶

=

=

µ 0 −ı ı 0

¶

* = σ*2,

(1.30) which shows how the standard, symplectic Poisson structure is mapped into the Birkhoff one.

The “new” Poisson bracket in Birkhoff coordinates reads
{F, ee G}_{#} =

µ *∂*F/e*∂z*

*∂*F/e *∂z*^{∗}

¶

·

µ 0 −ı ı 0

¶ µ *∂*G/e*∂z*

*∂*G/e*∂z*^{∗}

¶

= −ı*Ã ∂*Fe

*∂z*

*∂*Ge

*∂z*^{∗}− *∂*Fe

*∂z*^{∗}

*∂*Ge

*∂z*

! .

The Poisson tensor in Birkhoff coordinates is determined by the relations {z, z^{∗}} = −ı, {z, z} =
{z^{∗}, z^{∗}} = 0.

**Remark 1.5. To a Hamiltonian sum of harmonic oscillator Hamiltonians, i.e. H =**P

j*ω*j|zj|,
there corresponds the Poisson bracket

{F, G} = −ıX

j

*Ã ∂F*

*∂z*j

*∂G*

*∂z*^{∗}_{j} − *∂F*

*∂z*^{∗}_{j}

*∂G*

*∂z*j

! ,

with a Poisson tensor specified by the relations {z_{j}, z^{∗}_{k}*} = −ıδ*jk, {z_{j}, z_{k}} = {z^{∗}_{j}, z^{∗}_{k}} = 0.

This is the case, for example, of quantum mechanics (where z_{j}= cj), but for a prefactor ħ^{−1}.
One easily checks that with the Poisson bracket

{F, G} = −ı ħ

X

j

*Ã ∂F*

*∂c*j

*∂G*

*∂c*^{∗}_{j} − *∂F*

*∂c*^{∗}_{j}

*∂G*

*∂c*j

!

, (1.31)

1.2. CHANGE OF VARIABLES 15 and the Hamiltonian K =P

jE_{j}|cj|^{2}, the Hamilton equations ˙c_{k}= {ck, K } are exactly the Schrödinger
ones (1.16).

**Exercise 1.4. Suppose F(c, c**^{∗}) =

Ψ^{, ˆ}FΨ® and G(c, c^{∗}) =

Ψ^{, ˆ}GΨ^{®, where}Ψ=P

kc_{k}Φk. Show
that

{F, G} =

¿
Ψ^{,} ^{1}

ıħ[ ˆF, ˆG]Ψ À

, (1.32)

where [ ˆF, ˆG_{] := ˆ}FG^{ˆ}− ˆGF^{ˆ} is the commutator of the self-adjoint operators ˆFand ˆG.

**Example 1.7. Let us consider the case of a constant Poisson tensor J := A in finite dimension**
n. The real n × n matrix A is only supposed to be skew-symmetric: A^{T}= −A. We consider the
Hamiltonian system

˙x = A∇xH(x) (1.33)

and perform a linear change of variables*x 7→ y = Lx. In this case one has ∂f /∂x = L, so that for-*
mula (1.25) yields the transformed Poisson tensor J^{#}= LAL^{T}. The Linear change of variables
is built up in such a way that J^{#} turns out to be as close as possible to a standard symplectic
matrix. To this purpose, the main properties of the matrix A are listed below.

1. A is a normal matrix, i.e. commutes with its Hermitian conjugate^{4}, so that it is unitarily
diagonalizable: ∃U such that U^{†}U = I and U^{†}*AU = diag(λ*1, . . . ,*λ*n).

2. The spectrum ofA consists of pure imaginary numbers*λ*1, . . . ,*λ*n*∈ ıR; if λ is an eigenvalue*
**with eigenvector x =∈ C**^{n}, also*λ*^{∗}**= −λ is an eigenvalue, with eigenvector x**^{∗}. Thus there
are 2k = n − r non zero eigenvalues, where r := dim(ker A).

3. Consider the eigenvalue problem

**A(a + ıb) = ıµ(a + ıb) , ⇔**

½ **Aa = −µb**

* Ab = µa* (1.34)

**where a, b ∈ R**^{n}and*µ > 0 without loss of generality. Then there exist a solution consisting*
of k positive numbers*µ*1, . . . ,*µ*k and **k pairs of real vectors (a**j**, b**j), j = 1,..., k, such that
**a**_{i}**· b**j**= 0, a**i**· a**j**= b**i**· b**j*= δ*i j for any i, j = 1,..., n.

**4. The orthonormal vectors a**_{1}**, . . . , a**_{k}**, b**_{1}**, . . . , b**_{k} are also orthogonal to ker A. Thus, given
**any orthonormal basis w**_{1}**, . . . , w**_{r} **of ker A, the vectors a**_{1}**, . . . , a**_{k}**, b**_{1}**, . . . , b**_{k}**, w**_{1}**, . . . , w**_{r}con-
stitute an orthonormal basis ofR^{n}.

The matrixL that defines the linear change of variables is now given by
L^{T}:=

µ **a**_{1}
*pµ*1

¯

¯

¯ · · ·

¯

¯

¯
**a**_{k}
*pµ*k

¯

¯

¯
**b**_{1}
*pµ*1

¯

¯

¯ · · ·

¯

¯

¯
**b**_{k}
*pµ*k

¯

¯

**¯w**1

¯

¯

¯ · · ·

¯

¯

**¯w**r

¶

, (1.35)

4Recall that the Hermitian conjugate of a matrix, or of a linear operator, M is the transpose of its complex
conjugate, or vice versa, namely M^{†}:= (M^{∗})^{T}= (M^{T})^{∗}.

defined by its column vectors. One then easily checks that

J^{#}= LAL^{T}=

Ok Ik Ok,r

−Ik Ok Ok,r

Or,k Or,k Or,r

. (1.36)

The Hamilton equations ˙y = J^{#}∇y*H( y) take on a very simple form. Indeed, setting y := (q, p,ξ),*e
where q, p ∈ R^{k} and*ξ ∈ R*^{r}, one gets

q =˙ *∂*He

*∂p* ; ˙p = −*∂*He

*∂q* ; ˙*ξ = 0 .* (1.37)

Thus the Hamiltonian H(q, p;e *ξ) depends on the r parameters ξ*1, . . . ,*ξ*r. Such parameters are
nothing but the Casimir invariants of the system, and their expression in terms of the old vari-
ablesx is obtained by computing the last r components of the vector y = Lx.

**1.2.1** **Canonical transformations**

Given the Hamiltonian dynamical system (1.22), among all the possible changes of variables concerning it, a privileged role is played by those leaving the Poisson tensor and, as a con- sequence, the Hamilton equations invariant in form, i.e. mapping the equation (1.22) into the equation ˙y = J(y)∇yH( y), with the same Poisson tensor and a transformed Hamiltoniane H = H ◦ g. Such particular changes of variables are the so-called canonical transformations ofe the given Poisson structure and are characterized by the following equivalent conditions:

J^{#}( y) = J(y) ; (1.38)

{ y_{i}, yj} = {fi, fj} ◦ g ; (1.39)
{F ◦ g,G ◦ g} = {F,G} ◦ g ∀F,G . (1.40)
**Exercise 1.5. Prove the equivalence of conditions (1.38), (1.39) and (1.40).**

The set of all the canonical transformations of a given Poisson structure has a natural group structure with respect to composition (they are actually a subgroup of all the change of variables).

**Example 1.8. Let us consider the standard Hamiltonian case, where the reference Poisson**
tensor is the standard symplectic matrix J_{2n} defined in (1.10). If x = (q, p) and y = (Q, P) =

f (q, p), taking into account formula (1.25) with J = J2n, condition (1.38) reads

J_{2n}=
µ*∂f*

*∂x*

¶
J_{2n}

µ*∂f*

*∂x*

¶T

, namely

µ On In

−In On

¶

=

µ*∂(Q, P)*

*∂(q, p)*

¶ µ On In

−In On

¶ µ*∂(Q, P)*

*∂(q, p)*

¶T

,

1.2. CHANGE OF VARIABLES 17

which is equivalent to the relations

*" ∂Q*

*∂q*
µ*∂Q*

*∂p*

¶T

−*∂Q*

*∂p*
µ*∂Q*

*∂q*

¶T#

i j

=

n

X

s=1

µ*∂Q*i

*∂q*s

*∂Q*j

*∂p*s

−*∂Q*i

*∂p*s

*∂Q*j

*∂q*s

¶

:= {Qi, Q_{j}}_{q,p}= 0 ; (1.41)

*" ∂P*

*∂q*
µ*∂P*

*∂p*

¶T

−*∂P*

*∂p*
µ*∂P*

*∂q*

¶T#

i j

=

n

X

s=1

µ*∂P*i

*∂q*s

*∂P*j

*∂p*s−*∂P*i

*∂p*s

*∂P*j

*∂q*s

¶

:= {Qi, Q_{j}}_{q,p}= 0 ; (1.42)

*" ∂Q*

*∂q*
µ*∂P*

*∂p*

¶T

−*∂Q*

*∂p*
µ*∂P*

*∂q*

¶T#

i j

=

n

X

s=1

µ*∂Q*i

*∂q*s

*∂P*j

*∂p*s−*∂Q*i

*∂p*s

*∂P*j

*∂q*s

¶

:= {Qi, P_{j}}_{q,p}*= δ*i j , (1.43)

for all i, j = 1,..., n. Such relations are the necessary and sufficient conditions for a change of variables to be canonical in standard Hamiltonian mechanics. The same relations can be obtained by applying the equivalent conditions (1.39) (check it).

**Example 1.9. Consider again the harmonic oscillator of example 1.3. The transformation**
(q*, p) 7→ (ϕ, I) defined by q =*p

2I/*ωcosϕ, p = −*p

2*ωI sinϕ, is canonical, since {ϕ, I}*q,p= 1. The
new Hamiltonian readsH(e *ϕ, I) = ωI, and the corresponding equations read ˙ϕ = ω, ˙I = 0.*

**Example 1.10. Consider the Euler equations ˙L = L∧I**^{−1}**L = J(L)∇**L**H(L) for the free rigid body,**
where **J(L) = L∧ and H =** ^{1}_{2}**L · I**^{−1}**L. The linear change of variable L**^{0}**= RL, where R is any**
orthogonal matrix (RR^{T}= I3), is canonical. Indeed, formula (1.25), with**∂f /∂x = ∂L**^{0}/* ∂L = R,*
gives

J^{#}**(L**^{0})**ξ = RJ(L)R**^{T}¯

¯

¯**L=R**^{T}**L**^{0}**ξ = R[(R**^{T}**L**^{0}) ∧ (R^{T}**ξ)] = L**^{0}**∧ ξ = J(L**^{0})**ξ ,**

which, being valid for any vector**ξ, implies J**^{#}**(L**^{0}**) = J(L**^{0}). The transformed Hamiltonian is

**H(L**e ^{0}) = H(R^{T}**L**^{0}) =1

2**L**^{0}· (R I^{−1}R^{T}**)L**^{0}:=1

2**L**^{0}· ˜I^{−1}**L**^{0},

which has the same functional form of H, but for the transformed inertia tensor ˜I := RIR^{T};
observe that ˜I^{−1}= (R IR^{T})^{−1}= R I^{−1}R^{T}.

A very convenient way of performing canonical transformations is to do it through Hamilto-
nian flows. To such a purpose, let us consider a Hamiltonian G(x) and its associated Hamilton
equations ˙x = XG(x). LetΦ^{s}_{G}denote the flow of G, so thatΦ^{s}_{G}^{(}*ξ) is the solution of the Hamilton*
equations at time s, corresponding to the initial condition*ξ at s = 0. We also denote by*

L_{G}:= { ,G} = (J∇G) · ∇ = XG· ∇ (1.44)
the Lie derivative along the Hamiltonian vector field X_{G}; notice that L_{G}F = {F,G}.

**Lemma 1.1. For any function F one has**

F ◦Φ^{s}_{G}= e^{sL}^{G}F . (1.45)

C ^{PROOF. Set} F(s) := F ◦^{e} Φ_{G}^{s} (observe that eG(s) = G ◦Φ_{G}^{s} = G), and notice that eF(0) = F.

Then

e˙

F = {F,G} ◦Φ^{s}_{G}= L_{G}F ,
so that ¨

F = e L^{2}

GF and so on, i.e. d^{n}F/dse ^{n}= L^{n}

GF for any n ≥ 0. The Taylor expansion of eF(s) centered at s = 0 reads

F(s) =e X

n≥0

s^{n}
n!

d^{n}Fe
ds^{n}

¯

¯

¯

¯s=0

= X

n≥0

s^{n}L^{n}

G

n! F = e^{sL}^{G}F . B

**Lemma 1.2. If G is a Hamiltonian independent of s and c is a constant independent of x and**
s, the unique solution of the Cauchy problem

dF

ds = {F,G} ; F(0) ≡ c , (1.46)

isF(s) ≡ c.

C^{PROOF. F}^{0}(s) = {F(s),G} = LGF(s), so that F(s) = e^{sL}^{G}F(0) = e^{sL}^{G}c ≡ c. B

**Proposition 1.3. If G is independent of s, the change of variables x 7→ y =**Φ^{−s}_{G} (x) defined by its
flow at time −s constitutes a one-parameter group of canonical transformations.

CPROOF. The group properties follow from those of the flow. For what concerns canonicity,
we prove the validity of condition (1.40), with f :=Φ_{G}^{−s}and g := f^{−1}=Φ^{s}_{G}, namely we prove that
{F ◦Φ_{G}^{s}, H ◦Φ^{s}_{G}} = {F, H} ◦Φ_{G}^{s} ∀s . (1.47)
The equivalent statement is that the difference

D(s) := {F ◦Φ_{G}^{s}, H ◦Φ^{s}_{G}} − {F, H} ◦Φ^{s}_{G}= {e^{sL}^{G}F, e^{sL}^{G}H} − e^{sL}^{G}{F, H}

identically vanishes. Observe that D(0) = 0; moreover G = eG. One finds dD

ds = {LGF,e H} + { ee F, L_{G}H} − Le G{F, H} = {{ eF, eG},H} + { ee F, {H, ee G}} − { {F, H}, eG} =

= {{ eF, eG},H} + {{ ee G,H},e F} − { e {F, G},H} = {{ ee F,H}, ee G} − { {F, H}, eG} =

= {{ eF,H} − e {F, H}, eG} = {D(s),G} .

The unique solution of the differential equation D^{0}(s) = {D(s), H}, with initial datum D(0) = 0,
is D(s) ≡ 0.B

An interesting application of the above formalism is the following Hamiltonian version of the Nöther theorem, linking symmetries to first integrals.

**Proposition 1.4. If the Hamiltonian H is invariant with respect to the Hamiltonian flow of**
the HamiltonianK , i.e. H ◦Φ^{s}_{K}= H, then K is a first integral of H.

1.2. CHANGE OF VARIABLES 19 CPROOF. One has

0 =dH ds = d

dsH ◦Φ^{s}_{K}= {H, K} ◦Φ^{s}_{K} ^{,}
for any s ∈ R. In particular, for s = 0 one gets {H, K} = 0.B

In order to apply the previous proposition, one usually has to

1. find a one parameter group of symmetry for H, namely a transformation of coordinates
x 7→ y = f^{s}(x), depending on a real parameter s, such that f_{1}^{s}◦ f^{s}^{2} = f^{s}^{1}^{+s}^{2} for any pair
s_{1}, s_{2}∈ R and f^{0}(x) = x for any x, and such that H ◦ f^{s}= H;

2. check whether f^{s} is a Hamiltonian flow, namely whether there exists a Hamiltonian K
such that f^{s}=Φ_{K}^{s}^{.}

As a matter of fact, there is no recipe for point 1., whereas for point 2. one has to check whether
the generator of the group, namely the vector field*∂f*^{s}(x)/*∂s|*_{s=0}, is a Hamiltonian vector field.

In practice one writes the equation

*∂f*^{s}(x)

*∂s*

¯

¯

¯

¯s=0

= J(x)∇K(x)

and looks for a solution K (x); if such a solution exists then K is a first integral of H. In the
equation above J(x) is the Poisson tensor fixed for H. We recall that the generator of the group
*u := ∂f*^{s}/*∂s|*_{s=0}is the vector field whose flow is f^{s}, i.e. the vector field of the differential equation
whose solution at any time s with initial datum x is just y(s) := f^{s}(x). This is easily checked as
follows:

d y ds= lim

h→0

y(s + h) − y(s)

h = lim

h→0

f^{h}( y) − y

h = *∂f*^{h}( y)

*∂h*

¯

¯

¯

¯h=0

= u(y) .
**Exercise 1.6. Consider the single particle Hamiltonian**

H =**|p|**^{2}

2m **+ V (q) ,**

**where q, p ∈ R**^{3}. i) Determine the conditions under whichH is invariant under the one-parameter
**group of space translations q 7→ q + su, p 7→ p, where u is a given unit vector. Write such a**
transformation as a Hamiltonian flow and determine the corresponding first integral. ii) Re-
**peat the same analysis with the one-parameter group of rotations q 7→ R(s)q, p 7→ R(s)p, where**
R(s) = e^{sA}, A being a given skew-symmetric matrix. Finally, show that for one parameter sub-
groups of rotation matrices the exponential formR(s) = e^{sA} is generic.

Sometimes, the requirement of canonicity in the sense stated above turns out to be too re-
strictive. For example, the simple re-scaling (q, p, H, t) 7→ (Q, P, K, T) = (aq, bp, cH, dt), depend-
ing on four real parameters a, b, c, d, preserves the form of the Hamilton equations, namely
*dQ/dT = ∂K/∂P, dP/dT = −∂K/∂Q, under the unique condition ab = cd. On the other hand,*
in order to satisfy the relations (1.43) one needs the further condition ab = 1. In this case,
the extra factor ab gained by the transformed Poisson tensor is re-absorbed by a rescaling of
Hamiltonian and time.

One is thus naturally led to call canonical transformations those changes of variables (time
and Hamiltonian included) that preserve the final form of Hamilton equations, with the same
Poisson tensor. In particular, a change of phase space coordinates x 7→ y = f (x) such that
J^{#}( y) = cJ(y), can be completed to a canonical transformation by re-absorbing the constants c
through the time rescaling T = ct. Indeed, the change of variables

(x, J, H, t) 7→ (y, J^{#},H, T)e

maps the original Hamilton equations dx/dt = J∇xH into d y/dT = J(y)∇yH( y), and is thuse canonical, in the extended sense of preserving the given (Poisson) structure of the Hamilton equations.

**Example 1.11. Consider the Euler equations for the free rigid body. Since |L| is a constant of**
motion (Casimir invariant), one can reasonably consider only unit vectors. Let us set**` := |L| and*** u := L/`. One easily checks that the change of phase space variable L 7→ u gives a transformed*
Poisson tensor J

^{#}

*= J/` and a transformed Hamiltonian eH = `*

^{2}H. It thus follows that the change of variables

**(L, J, H, t) 7→ (u, J/`,`**^{2}H,*`t) ,*

**is canonical. The Euler equations on the unit sphere read du/dT = u ∧ I**^{−1}**u.**

1.3. HAMILTONIAN PERTURBATION THEORY 21

**1.3** **Hamiltonian perturbation theory**

Let us consider a Hamiltonian system of the form

H_{λ}*= h + λP*1*+ λ*^{2}P_{2}*+ · · · + λ*^{n}P_{n}+ R_{n+1}, (1.48)
where*λ is a small parameter (|λ| ¿ 1), h, P*j= O(1) ( j = 1, . . . , n) are given functions and R_{n+1}=
O(*λ*^{n+1}). Now, if the Hamiltonian h = H0 is integrable, a notion that will be specified below,
the Hamiltonian (1.48) is said to be quasi-integrable or close to integrable, and P(*λ) = H**λ*− h
is called the perturbation. It has to be stressed that in many applications the perturbation P
does not appear as explicitly ordered in terms of a small parameter*λ, but could be split into*
a leading part, say P1, plus a remainder, say P2, the latter being possibly split in turn into a
leading part, say P_{3}, and so on. Moreover, the splitting of P can be different in different regions
of the phase space. In such cases the parameter*λ can be artificially inserted in the theory as*
a tracer of the ordering, and set to one at the end of the calculations (some authors, in this
case, refer to*λ as a “bookkeeping” parameter). Another remark concerns the closeness of the*
perturbed system, defined by H* _{λ}*, to the unperturbed one defined by h. What really matters is
not, or not so much, the ratio |P|/|h| of the perturbation to the unperturbed Hamiltonian, but
the ratio of the respective vector fields, namely kXPk/kXhk, in some norm. One understands
this by thinking that a constant perturbation does not affect the dynamics independently of its
size.

The central idea of (Hamiltonian) perturbation theory, which goes back to Lagrange and
Poincaré and has then reached its maximum achievements within the schools of Birkhoff,
Krylov and Kolmogorov, consists in looking for a change of variables that removes, completely
or partially, the perturbation P(*λ) from H** _{λ}*, up to some pre-fixed order. As will be shown below,
the complete removal of the perturbation, already at first order (i.e. the complete removal of
P

_{1}) is not possible, in general. What is actually meant by “partial removal of the perturbation up to some pre-fixed order” is clarified by the following definition.

**Definition 1.3 (Normal form). A Hamiltonian K*** _{λ}*of the form

K* _{λ}*= h +

n

X

j=1

*λ*^{j}S_{j}+ R_{n+1}, (1.49)

where {S_{j}, h} = 0 for any j = 1,..., n, and R_{n+1}*= O(λ*^{n+1}**), is said to be in normal form to order**
**n with respect to h.**

The Hamiltonian (1.49) is of the form (1.48), but the perturbation terms S_{j} are first in-
tegrals of h, which includes the case S_{j}= 0 for some j, i.e. of the complete removal of the
perturbation at the order j at hand. From a technical point of view, the aim of Hamiltonian
perturbation theory becomes that of finding a suitable change of variables that maps the quasi-
integrable Hamiltonian (1.48) into a normal form of the type (1.49). More precisely, suppose
that

1. the Hamiltonian H* _{λ}*(x) has the form (1.48) for any x ∈ D ⊂Γ

^{;}

2. the unperturbed Hamiltonian H_{0}= h is integrable in D, which means that its flowΦ^{t}_{h}^{(}*ξ),*
i.e. the solution of the Hamilton equations ˙x = Xh*(x) = (J∇H)(x) is known form any ξ ∈ D;*

3. the flow Φ^{t}_{h}^{(}*ξ) is bounded in D, uniformly in time: there exists a constant C such that*
kΦ^{t}_{h}^{(}*ξ)k ≤ C for any ξ ∈ D, in some suitable norm kk.*

Then one looks for a smooth,*λ-dependent, λ-close to the identity, canonical change of variables*
C*λ* such that ˜H* _{λ}*( y) := H

*¡*

_{λ}C_{λ}^{−1}( y)¢ is in normal form to order n with respect to h, i.e. has the
form (1.49):

C*λ*: x 7→ y =C*λ**(x) = x + O(λ) ; ˜*H = H*λ*◦C_{λ}^{−1}= K* _{λ}*. (1.50)
The role of the third hypothesis (boundedness) on Φ

^{t}

_{h}made above will appear below. The

*λ-closeness to the identity of the change of variables*C

*λ*is necessary in order to match the un- perturbed problem as

*λ → 0. Finally, the canonicity of*C

*λ*allows one to deal with the transfor- mation of the Hamiltonian function only, without minding about the consequent deformation of the Poisson structure. However, it has to be stressed that this is a choice, made for the sake of simplicity, and represents an actual restriction in the framework of perturbation theory.

In order to go on with the above program, one has to choose how to build up the canonical
transformationC*λ*. This is very conveniently made by composing the Hamiltonian flows of suit-
able generating Hamiltonians at*λ-dependent times. More precisely, one looks for a canonical*
transformation of the form

C* _{λ}*=Φ

^{−λ}_{G}

_{n}

^{n}◦Φ

^{−λ}_{G}

_{n−1}

^{n−1}◦ · · · ◦Φ

^{−λ}_{G}

_{2}

^{2}◦Φ

^{−λ}_{G}

_{1}

^{,}

^{(1.51)}with inverse

C_{λ}^{−1}=Φ^{λ}_{G}_{1}◦Φ^{λ}_{G}^{2}_{2}◦ · · · ◦Φ_{G}^{λ}^{n−1}_{n−1}◦Φ^{λ}_{G}^{n}_{n} ^{,} ^{(1.52)}
whereΦ^{±λ}_{G}_{j}^{j} is the flow of the Hamiltonian G_{j} *at time ±λ*^{j}; notice that the choice of the minus
sign in defining the direct transformation (1.51) is made just for formal convenience. The n
Hamiltonians G_{1}, . . . , Gn are called the generating Hamiltonians of the canonical transforma-
tionC*λ*: the latter transformation is completely specified when the n generating functions are
completely specified. As a matter of fact, the generating Hamiltonian G_{1}, . . . , G_{n} are the un-
knowns of the perturbative construction described above: their form is determined order by
order. It will turn out that actually, in a very precise sense, there are infinitely many possible
sets of n generating functions allowing to set H* _{λ}* in normal form. In other words, the normal
form of a given quasi-integrable Hamiltonian is not unique.

In the sequel, the following notation will be made use of. Given the Hamiltonian h, for
any real function F onΓ its time-average 〈F〉h along the flow of h and its deviation from the
average*δ*hF are defined by

〈F〉h:= lim

t→+∞

1 t

Z _{t}

0 ¡F ◦Φ^{s}_{h}^{¢ ds ;} ^{(1.53)}

*δ*hF := F − 〈F〉h . (1.54)

We will also need the following technical lemmas.

**Lemma 1.3. The time-average 〈 〉**his invariant with respect to the flow ofh, i.e. for any function
F one has

〈F〉h◦Φ^{r}_{h}= 〈F〉h ∀r ⇔ Lh〈F〉h= 0 . (1.55)