Publications

2003
Van{\'ıček, J.{\'ı & Heller, E.J. Uniform semiclassical wave function for coherent two-dimensional electron flow. Physical Review E 67, 016211 (2003). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We find a uniform semiclassical (SC) wave function describing coherent branched flow through a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG), a phenomenon recently discovered by direct imaging of the current using scanned probed microscopy [M.A. Topinka, B.J. LeRoy, S.E.J. Shaw, E.J. Heller, R.M. Westervelt, K.D. Maranowski, and A.C. Gossard, Science 289, 2323 (2000)]. The formation of branches has been explained by classical arguments [M.A. Topinka, B.J. LeRoy, R.M. Westervelt, S.E.J. Shaw, R. Fleischmann, E.J. Heller, K.D. Maranowski, and A.C. Gossard, Nature (London) 410, 183 (2001)], but the SC simulations necessary to account for the coherence are made difficult by the proliferation of catastrophes in the phase space. In this paper, expansion in terms of “replacement manifolds” is used to find a uniform SC wave function for a cusp singularity. The method is then generalized and applied to calculate uniform wave functions for a quantum-map model of coherent flow through a 2DEG. Finally, the quantum-map approximation is dropped and the method is shown to work for a continuous-time model as well.

Shaw, S. & Heller, E.J. Branching and fringing in microstructure electron flow. International Journal of Modern Physics B 17, 3977-3987 (2003). Publisher's VersionAbstract

 

Recent experimental work in the Westervelt laboratory at Harvard has succeeded in directly imaging electron flow in two degree of freedom electron gasses formed in semiconductor microstructures. Here, we give a brief account of the unexpected high resolution of the resulting images, the surprising branching of the flow which was observed, and the survival of quantum fringing beyond where it was thought to have been obliterated by thermal effects.

 

2002
Van Voorhis, T. & Heller, E.J. Nearly real trajectories in complex semiclassical dynamics. Physical Review A 66, 050501 (2002). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We introduce a very general approximation to the quantum propagator that is based on the assumption that the most important contributions to the complex semiclassical propagator evolve from real classical trajectories that almost satisfy the desired boundary conditions. Our results for two systems — the autocorrelation function for the quartic anharmonic oscillator and the photodissociation spectrum of CO2 — show that these nearly real contributions yield an excellent approximation to the quantum propagator for quite long times. The approach taken here is applicable to problems with many (e.g., several hundred) degrees of freedom, and hence promises to provide an accurate and useful representation of the quantum dynamics for a wide variety of physically interesting systems.

Tannenbaum, E., Higgins, K.J., Klemperer, W., Segev, B. & Heller, E.J. A perturbative approach to vibrational predissociation rates: Application to ArHF. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 106, 8100–8107 (2002). Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper presents a perturbative model for the vibrational predissociation dynamics of inert gas hydrogen halide (RgHX) complexes. The predissociation is modeled as a Fermi Golden Rule (FGR) process from a bound state residing on a two-dimensional potential energy surface (PES) obtained by averaging over the HX vibrational state of interest to a series of one-dimensional exit channels obtained by averaging over the HX rovibrational state of interest. This model is applied to ArHF, for which a high-quality ab initio interaction potential is available. In particular, we focus on the vv − 1 transition for the bound states (1000), (2000), (2110), (3000), and (3110). We confirm the experimental observation that the product HF tends to come off at the highest accessible j state, which is j = 13 for this system. This results from a strong angular anisotropy in the ArHF interaction potential that couples low-j and high-j HF states. The basic mechanism for this high-j preference is determined to be the suppression of the low-j exit channels arising from highly oscillatory low-j outgoing wave functions. We also observed that the tails of the bound-state wave functions, in the inner wall region of the interaction potential, gave the main contribution to the predissociation rate, indicating that the vibrational predissociation process is due to tunneling and is therefore a purely quantum effect. The calculations also confirm the strong v-dependence of the predissociation rates, as well as the stabilization of the complex that occurs when energy is placed into the HF bending mode. For the (1000) and (2110) states, we obtain rates well below 1600 s-1, which is consistent with the observation by Miller that the vibrational predissociation rates are too slow to be measured. The (2000) state does give a measurable rate, with a computed decay into the j = 13 exit channel of 14 000 s-1. The (3000) state gives a corresponding rate of 200 000 s-1, in good agreement with the overall dissociation rate of 250 000 s-1. The (3110) rate is slower, with a value of 12 000 s-1. Though this rate seems somewhat small, given that the lifetime of the (3110) state was measured to only be twice as long as that of the (3000) state, this rate and all our rates are within an order of magnitude of the measured rates.

2001
Mody, A., Haggerty, M., Doyle, J.M. & Heller, E.J. No-sticking effect and quantum reflection in ultracold collisions. Physical Review B 64, 085418 (2001). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We provide a general and nonperturbative theoretical basis for quantum reflection of an ultracold atom incident on a cold or warm surface. Sticking is identified with the formation of a long-lived resonance, from which it emerges that the physical reason for not sticking is that the many internal degrees of freedom of the target serve to decohere the incident one body wave function, thereby upsetting the delicate interference process necessary to form a resonance. We then explore the transition to the post-threshold behavior, when sticking prevails at higher incident energies. Studying the WKB wave functions of the atom provides a quick understanding of our results even in the ultracold regime where WKB is not applicable. Explicit examples are examined in detail and we predict the temperatures required to reach the various regimes.

Cohen, D., Barnett, A. & Heller, E.J. Parametric evolution for a deformed cavity. Physical Review E 63, 046207 (2001). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We consider a classically chaotic system that is described by a Hamiltonian H(Q,P;x), where (Q,P) describes a particle moving inside a cavity, and x controls a deformation of the boundary. The quantum eigenstates of the system are \|n(x)>. We describe how the parametric kernel P(n\|m)=\|<n(x)\|m(x0)>\|2, also known as the local density of states, evolves as a function of δx=x-x0. We illuminate the nonunitary nature of this parametric evolution, the emergence of nonperturbative features, the final nonuniversal saturation, and the limitations of random-wave considerations. The parametric evolution is demonstrated numerically for two distinct representative deformation processes.

Stöckmann, H.-J. & Heller, E.J. Quantum chaos: an introduction. Physics Today 54, 49 (2001). Publisher's Version
Heller, E.J. Quantum physics: Air juggling and other tricks. Nature 412, 33–34 (2001). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Quantum tunnelling breaks the rules of classical physics — and leads to ghost-like transfer of matter through barriers. Demonstrations of a new type of quantum tunnelling have the ghosts taking new liberties.

Barnett, A., Cohen, D. & Heller, E.J. Rate of energy absorption for a driven chaotic cavity. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General 34, 413 (2001). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We consider the response of a chaotic cavity in d dimensions to periodic driving. We are motivated by older studies of one-body dissipation in nuclei, and also by anticipated mesoscopic applications. For calculating the rate of energy absorption due to time-dependent deformation of the confining potential, we introduce an improved version of the wall formula. Our formulation takes into account that a special class of deformations causes no heating in the zero-frequency limit. We also derive a mesoscopic version of the Drude formula, and explain that it can be regarded as a special example of our calculations. Specifically we consider a quantum dot driven by an electro-motive force which is induced by a time-dependent homogeneous magnetic field.

Van{\'ıček, J.{\'ı & Heller, E.J. Replacement manifolds: A method to uniformize semiclassical wave functions. Physical Review E 64, 026215 (2001). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We present a semiclassical technique that relies on replacing complicated classical manifold structure with simpler manifolds, which are then evaluated by the usual semiclassical rules. Under circumstances where the original manifold structure gives poor or useless results semiclassically the replacement manifolds can yield remarkable accuracy. We give several working examples to illustrate the theory presented here.

Fiete, G.A., et al. Scattering theory of Kondo mirages and observation of single Kondo atom phase shift. Physical review letters 86, 2392 (2001).Abstract

We explain the origin of the Kondo mirage seen in recent quantum corral Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) experiments with a scattering theory of electrons on the surfaces of metals. Our theory combined with experimental data provides the first direct observation of a single Kondo atom phase shift. The Kondo mirage observed at the empty focus of an elliptical quantum corral is shown to arise from multiple electron bounces off the corral wall adatoms in a manner analagous to the formation of a real image in optics. We demonstrate our theory with direct quantitive comparision to experimental data. *This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CHE9610501 and by ITAMP.

Tannenbaum, E. & Heller, E.J. Semiclassical Quantization Using Invariant Tori: A Gradient-Descent Approach. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 105, 2803–2813 (2001). Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper presents a PDE-based, gradient-descent approach (GDA) to the EBK quantization of nearly separable Hamiltonians in the quasi-integrable regime. The method does this by finding an optimal semiclassical basis of invariant tori which minimizes the angular dependence of the Hamiltonian. This representation of the Hamiltonian is termed an intrinsic resonance representation (IRR), and it gives the smallest possible basis obtainable from classical mechanics. Because our method is PDE-based, we believe it to be significantly faster than previous IRR algorithms, making it possible to EBK quantize systems of higher degrees of freedom than previously studied. In this paper we demonstrate our method by reproducing results from a two-degree-of-freedom system used to demonstrate the previous Carioli, Heller, and Moller (CHM) implementation of the IRR approach. We then go on to show that our method can be applied to higher dimensional Hamiltonians than previously studied by using it to EBK quantize a four- and a six-degree-of-freedom system.

Topinka, M.A., et al. Coherent branched flow in a two-dimensional electron gas. Nature 410, 183 (2001). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Presents a study to observe electron flow through a narrow constriction in a semiconductor nanostructure. Methods; Results; Conclusion that a branching of current flux is due to focusing of the electron paths by ripples in the background potential.
2000
M. A. Topinka, R. M. Westervelt,, et al. Imaging Coherent Electron Flow from a Quantum Point Contact. Science 289, 5488, 2323-2326 (2000). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Scanning a charged tip above the two-dimensional electron gas inside a gallium arsenide/aluminum gallium arsenide nanostructure allows the coherent electron flow from the lowest quantized modes of a quantum point contact at liquid helium temperatures to be imaged. As the width of the quantum point contact is increased, its electrical conductance increases in quantized steps of 2e 2/h, where e is the electron charge and h is Planck's constant. The angular dependence of the electron flow on each step agrees with theory, and fringes separated by half the electron wavelength are observed. Placing the tip so that it interrupts the flow from particular modes of the quantum point contact causes a reduction in the conductance of those particular conduction channels below 2e 2/h without affecting other channels.

Barnett, A., Cohen, D. & Heller, E.J. Deformations and dilations of chaotic billiards: Dissipation rate, and quasiorthogonality of the boundary wave functions. Physical review letters 85, 1412 (2000). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We consider chaotic billiards in d dimensions, and study the matrix elements Mnm corresponding to general deformations of the boundary. We analyze the dependence of |Mnm|2 on ω=(EnEm)/ħ using semiclassical considerations. This relates to an estimate of the energy dissipation rate when the deformation is periodic at frequency ω. We show that, for dilations and translations of the boundary, |Mnm|2 vanishes like ω4 as ω0, for rotations such as ω2, whereas for generic deformations it goes to a constant. Such special cases lead to quasiorthogonality of the eigenstates on the boundary.

Cohen, D. & Heller, E.J. Unification of perturbation theory, random matrix theory, and semiclassical considerations in the study of parametrically dependent eigenstates. Physical review letters 84, 2841 (2000). Publisher's VersionAbstract

We consider a classically chaotic system that is described by a Hamiltonian H(Q,P;x), where x is a constant parameter. Specifically, we discuss a gas particle inside a cavity, where x controls a deformation of the boundary or the position of a "piston." The quantum eigenstates of the system are |n(x)>. We describe how the parametric kernel P(nmid R:m) = |<n(x)mid R:m(x(0))>|(2) evolves as a function of deltax = x-x(0). We explore both the perturbative and the nonperturbative regimes, and discuss the capabilities and the limitations of semiclassical as well as random waves and random-matrix-theory considerations.

1999
Heller, E.J. Semiclassical wave packets. The Physics and Chemistry of Wave Packets; Yeazel, J.; Uzer, T. eds, Wiley: New York (1999).
Forrey, R.C., Balakrishnan, N., Dalgarno, A., Haggerty, M.R. & Heller, E.J. Quasiresonant energy transfer in ultracold atom-diatom collisions. Physical review letters 82, 2657 (1999). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Quantum and classical quasiresonant vibration-rotation energy transfer is investigated for ultracold HeH2 collisions. Classical trajectory computations show that extremely strong correlations between Δj and Δv persist at low energies, though the changes themselves are less than one quantum. Quantum computations show that quasiresonant transitions occur in the limit of zero collision energy but that threshold effects become important and that some quasiresonant channels close. The qualitative similarity between classical and quantum results suggests that they share a common mechanism.

1995
Grossmann, F. & Heller, E.J. A semiclassical correlation function approach to barrier tunneling. Chemical physics letters 241, 45–50 (1995). Publisher's VersionAbstract

A time domain approach employing the semiclassical approximation to the quantum mechanical propagator, as applied to Gaussian wavepackets, is used to study the barrier penetration problem. We have observed that qualitative agreement with the exact quantum calculations for the correlation function and the transmission probability can be achieved by considering only classically allowed trajectories. The results slowly tend to the classical step function at the barrier top as a function of the wavepacket center parameter, however. We suggest that a full semiclassical calculation, including nonclassical trajectories with complex energies, would improve the results.

1994
Rost, J.M. & Heller, E.J. Ionization of hydrogen by positron impact near the fragmentation threshold. Physical Review A 49, R4289 (1994). Publisher's VersionAbstract

The semiclassical approximation of Feynman’s path integral is used to calculate the S matrix for the positron-impact ionization of hydrogen. The formulation provides a full scattering amplitude, and more importantly does not require knowledge of the asymptotic three-body Coulomb state in the continuum. In the limit of vanishing excess energy, the results confirm Wannier’s classical model for fragmentation [Phys. Rev. 90, 817 (1953)]. The experimentally observable ratio of fragmentation versus total ionization (including positronium formation) is predicted.

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