Geometric effects on a quantum particle constrained to a helix, catenary, helicoid, or catenoid

Research paper by J. D. M. de Lima. E. Gomes, F. F. da Silva Filho, F. Moraes, R. Teixeira

Indexed on: 03 Mar '21Published on: 28 Feb '21Published in: arXiv - Physics - Mesoscopic Systems and Quantum Hall Effect


Since electrons in a ballistic regime perceive a carbon nanotube or a graphene layer structure as a continuous medium, we can use the study of the quantum dynamics of one electron constrained to a curve or surface to obtain a qualitative description of the conduction electrons' behavior. The confinement process of a quantum particle to a curve or surface leads us, in the so-called da Costa's approach, to a geometry-induced potential (GIP) in the effective Schr\"odinger equation. With these considerations, this work aims to study in detail the consequences of constraining a quantum particle to a helix, catenary, helicoid, or catenoid, exploring the relations between these curves and surfaces using differential geometry. Initially, we use the variational method to estimate the energy of the particle in its ground state, and then, we obtain better approximations with the use of the confluent Heun function through numerical calculations. Thus, we conclude that a quantum particle constrained to an infinite helix has its angular momentum quantized due to the geometry of the curve, while in the cases of the catenary, helicoid, and catenoid the particle can be found either in a single bound state or in excited states which constitute a continuous energy band.