Bohm Trajectories for Quantum Particles in a Time-Dependent Linear Potential

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The time-dependent probability density associated with this Gaussian wave packet is Gaussian for all times. The de Broglie–Bohm formulation of quantum mechanics, also known as the quantum theory of motion, is a single-valued theory in configuration space with one possible velocity ( is momentum) for a given position at time . A point particle follows a trajectory given by the equation of motion. In this Demonstration the time-dependent potential is assumed to be . Therefore, describes a normalized Gaussian wave packet that is initially centered at . The shape of the wave packet is not changed by the external force. The particle trajectories are obtained via the velocity field (adopting ), where is the phase of the wave function in the eikonal form . Their time evolution can be given in closed form: , where , , and are arbitrary real constants, and where , the integration constant, is used to estimated the positions of the initial particles. For the classical case the equation of motion can be solved analytically from Newton's second law : , which is considered with the quantum motion. The quantum particle dynamics is a sum of classical terms (with , but without the -term) and a term due to the spreading of the packet. When the particle lies initially at the center of the squared wavefunction () the motion becomes classical. You can calculate the wavefunction, the gradient of the phase (), and the analytic solution of the quantum motion for any arbitrary time-dependent function , if the terms are integrable. The graphics show the squared wavefunction and the trajectories on the right, and the position of the particles, the squared wavefunction (blue), and the quantum potential (red) on the left.

Contributed by: Klaus von Bloh (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The time evolution of a quantum particle in the presence of a time-dependent linear potential is given by a complex-valued function

that satisfies Schrödinger's wave equation .


M. Maamache and Y. Saadi, "Gaussian Wave Packet Solution of the Schrodinger Equation in the Presence of a Time-Dependent Linear Potential," Quantum Physics, 2008 pp. 1–5.

P. Holland, The Quantum Theory of Motion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

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