The Evolution and Revival Structure of Localized Quantum Wave Packets

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Bluhm, Robert ; Kostelecky, Alan ; Porter, James (1995)

Localized quantum wave packets can be produced in a variety of physical systems and are the subject of much current research in atomic, molecular, chemical, and condensed-matter physics. They are particularly well suited for studying the classical limit of a quantum-mechanical system. The motion of a localized quantum wave packet initially follows the corresponding classical motion. However, in most cases the quantum wave packet spreads and undergoes a series of collapses and revivals. We present a generic treatment of wave-packet evolution, and we provide conditions under which various types of revivals occur in ideal form. The discussion is at a level appropriate for an advanced undergraduate or first-year graduate course in quantum mechanics. Explicit examples of different types of revival structure are provided, and physical applications are discussed.
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