Dynamical tunneling versus fast diffusion for a non-convex Hamiltonian


Pittman, S.M., Tannenbaum, E. & Heller, E.J. Dynamical tunneling versus fast diffusion for a non-convex Hamiltonian. J. Chem. Phys. 145, 054303 (2016).


This paper attempts to resolve the issue of the nature of the 0.01-0.1 cm−1 peak splittings observed in high-resolution IR spectra of polyatomic molecules. One hypothesis is that these splittings are caused by dynamical tunneling, a quantum-mechanical phenomenon whereby energy flows between two disconnected regions of phase-space across dynamical barriers. However, a competing classical mechanism for energy flow is Arnol’d diffusion, which connects different regions of phase-space by a resonance network known as the Arnol’d web. The speed of diffusion is bounded by the Nekhoroshev theorem, which guarantees stability on exponentially long time scales if the Hamiltonian is steep. Here we consider a non-convex Hamiltonian that contains the characteristics of a molecular Hamiltonian, but does not satisfy the Nekhoroshev theorem. The diffusion along the Arnol’d web is expected to be fast for a non-convex Hamiltonian. While fast diffusion is an unlikely competitor for longtime energy flow in molecules, we show how dynamical tunneling dominates compared to fast diffusion in the nearly integrable regime for a non-convex Hamiltonian, as well as present a new kind of dynamical tunneling.

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