Interference in Bohmian mechanics with complex action.

Research paper by Yair Y Goldfarb, David J DJ Tannor

Indexed on: 06 Nov '07Published on: 06 Nov '07Published in: The Journal of chemical physics


In recent years, intensive effort has gone into developing numerical tools for exact quantum mechanical calculations that are based on Bohmian mechanics. As part of this effort we have recently developed as alternative formulation of Bohmian mechanics in which the quantum action S is taken to be complex [Y. Goldfarb et al., J. Chem. Phys. 125, 231103 (2006)]. In the alternative formulation there is a significant reduction in the magnitude of the quantum force as compared with the conventional Bohmian formulation, at the price of propagating complex trajectories. In this paper we show that Bohmian mechanics with complex action is able to overcome the main computational limitation of conventional Bohmian methods-the propagation of wave functions once nodes set in. In the vicinity of nodes, the quantum force in conventional Bohmian formulations exhibits rapid oscillations that present a severe numerical challenge. We show that within complex Bohmian mechanics, multiple complex initial conditions can lead to the same real final position, allowing for the accurate description of nodes as a sum of the contribution from two or more crossing trajectories. The idea is illustrated on the reflection amplitude from a one-dimensional Eckart barrier. We believe that trajectory crossing, although in contradiction to the conventional Bohmian trajectory interpretation, provides an important new tool for dealing with the nodal problem in Bohmian methods.