Paradoxical reflection in quantum mechanics

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Garrido , P L , Goldstein , S , Lukkarinen , J & Tumulka , R 2011 , ' Paradoxical reflection in quantum mechanics ' , American Journal of Physics , vol. 79 , no. 12 , pp. 1218-1231 .

Title: Paradoxical reflection in quantum mechanics
Author: Garrido, Pedro L.; Goldstein, Sheldon; Lukkarinen, Jani; Tumulka, Roderich
Contributor organization: Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Mathematical physics
Date: 2011-05-02
Language: eng
Belongs to series: American Journal of Physics
ISSN: 0002-9505
Abstract: This article concerns a phenomenon of elementary quantum mechanics that is quite counter-intuitive, very non-classical, and apparently not widely known: a quantum particle can get reflected at a downward potential step. In contrast, classical particles get reflected only at upward steps. The conditions for this effect are that the wave length is much greater than the width of the potential step and the kinetic energy of the particle is much smaller than the depth of the potential step. This phenomenon is suggested by non-normalizable solutions to the time-independent Schroedinger equation, and we present evidence, numerical and mathematical, that it is also indeed predicted by the time-dependent Schroedinger equation. Furthermore, this paradoxical reflection effect suggests, and we confirm mathematically, that a quantum particle can be trapped for a long time (though not forever) in a region surrounded by downward potential steps, that is, on a plateau.
Subject: 114 Physical sciences
111 Mathematics
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: restrictedAccess

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