Wigner-Current in One-Dimensional Bound-State Systems
The behaviour of classical systems is characterised by their phase portraits; the collections of their trajectories. In quantum mechanics phase portraits are still considered impossible to compute due to the complexity of quantum trajectories arising from the introduction of the quantum correction terms. Instead, in this thesis, we identify the Wigner current (the rate of flow per unit area of the Wigner distribution), as the quantum analogue of the classical phase-space current, and through Wigner current's fieldline portraits we show that it reveals hidden features of quantum dynamics and extra complexity. In our analysis, we focus on the simplest, most intuitive, and analytically accessible aspects of the Wigner current. We investigate its features for weakly-anharmonic weakly-excited bound-states of time-reversible one-dimensional quantum-mechanical systems. We establish that weakly-anharmonic potentials can be grouped into three distinct classes: hard, soft, and odd. We stress connections between each other and the harmonic case. We show that their Wigner current fieldline portraits can be characterised by the Wigner current's discrete stagnation points, how these arise and how a quantum system's dynamics is constrained by the stagnation points' topological charge conservation. We additionally demonstrate the conceptual power of the Wigner current by addressing some confusion found in the literature. We also stress the usefulness of the integral form of Wigner's representation as an alternative to the popular Moyal bracket. The integral form brings out the symmetries between momentum and position representations of quantum mechanics, is numerically stable, and allows us to perform some calculations using elementary integrals instead of Groenewold starproducts. The associated integral form of the Wigner current is used here in an elementary proof which shows that only systems up to quadratic in their potential fulfil Liouville's theorem of volume preservation in quantum mechanics.
MetadataShow full item record
The following license files are associated with this item: