Semiclassical evaluation of expectation values – Archive ouverte HAL

Kush Mohan MittalOlivier Giraud 1 Denis Ullmo 1

Kush Mohan Mittal, Olivier Giraud, Denis Ullmo. Semiclassical evaluation of expectation values. Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2020. ⟨hal-03017036⟩

Semiclassical Mechanics allows for a description of quantum systems which preserves their phase information, while using only the system's classical dynamics as an input. Over the time an identification has been developed between stationary phase approximation and semiclassical mechanics. Although it is true that in most of the cases in semiclassical mechanics the significant contributions come from the neighborhood of the stationary points, there are some important exceptions to it. In this paper we address one of these exceptions, occurring in the evaluation of the time evolution of the expectation value of an operator. We explain why it is necessary to include contributions which are not in the neighborhood of stationary points and provide new semiclassical expressions for the evolution of the expectation values. For our analysis we employ and discuss two major semiclassical tools. The first one is the association of the quantum evolution of a wavefunction to the classical evolution of a Lagrangian manifold, as done by Maslov. The second one is the derivation of an expression for the semiclassical Wigner function whose properties under canonical transformation are made explicit. Using the canonical invariance of the formalism, we derive an expression for the expectation value of observables for the one-dimensional case and then generalize it to higher dimensions. We find that the expression can be written as the sum of a classical contribution which corresponds to what is referred to as the Truncated Wigner Approximation (TWA) in the cold-atoms physics context, or the Linearized Semiclassical Initial Value Representation(LSC-IVR) in chemical or molecular physics, and additional terms associated with interferences. Along the way, we get a deeper understanding of the origin of these interference effects and an intuitive geometric picture associated with them.

  • 1. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques