Applications of stochastic mechanics to polyatomic lattices

J. G.B. Beumée, E. Vilallonga, H. Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stochastic quantization in the sense of Nelson provides an alternative interpretation of some aspects of quantum mechanics in the coordinate representation, and it was combined recently with the Ford, Kac, and Mazur (FKM) approximation [J. Math. Phys. 6, 504 (1965)] for large lattices to construct a quantum analog to the Brownian motion process. In this paper a similar approach is applied to model the effect of temperature fluctuations in a one-dimensional ordered chain of atoms with nearest-neighbor linear forces. However, we do not make use of the FKM approximation, and as a consequence the statistical properties of the involved processes are exactly determined by the lattice force field. In particular, we evaluate the covariance matrix for the fluctuations, and we examine its high- and low-temperature behavior. Because of the translation invariance of the interaction potential, the covariance matrix for the fluctuations becomes singular implying that the associated probability density has equal density along the zero eigenvector of the interaction matrix. This behavior is readily interpreted in terms of the motion of the center of mass of the system, which corresponds to a stochastically perturbed translation, while all other modes are bounded with a probability of 1. As is well known, the transformation to internal (bondlength) coordinates leads to a Hamiltonian specified by a nonsingular interaction matrix. We examine the variance of the fluctuations for the internal coordinates, and we show that in the high-temperature limit the result agrees with that of classical statistical mechanics. Both the position and bondlength of the surface atom decrease with time as is expected for a semi-infinite lattice. However, the position of the surface atom is less dependent on substrate-atom positions than is the surface bondlength on substrate bondlengths. Finally, the autocorrelation function of the surface bondlength in the case of a semi-infinite lattice limit is investigated for low- and high-temperature limits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2932-2941
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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