Numerical simulations in stochastic mechanics

Marvin McClendon, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The stochastic differential equation of Nelsons stochastic mechanics is integrated numerically for several simple quantum systems. The calculations are performed with use of Helfand and Greensides method and pseudorandom numbers. The resulting trajectories are analyzed both individually and collectively to yield insight into momentum, uncertainty principles, interference, tunneling, quantum chaos, and common models of diatomic molecules from the stochastic quantization point of view. In addition to confirming Shuckers momentum theorem, these simulations illustrate, within the context of stochastic mechanics, the position-momentum and time-energy uncertainty relations, the two-slit diffraction pattern, exponential decay of an unstable system, and the greater degree of anticorrelation in a valence-bond model as compared with a molecular-orbital model of H2. The attempt to find exponential divergence of initially nearby trajectories, potentially useful as a criterion for quantum chaos, in a periodically forced oscillator is inconclusive. A way of computing excited energies from the ground-state motion is presented. In all of these studies the use of particle trajectories allows a more insightful interpretation of physical phenomena than is possible within traditional wave mechanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3479-3492
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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