Wigner flow reveals topological order in quantum phase space dynamics

Ole Steuernagel, Dimitris Kakofengitis, Georg Ritter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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The behaviour of classical mechanical systems is characterised by their phase portraits, the collections of their trajectories. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle precludes the existence of sharply defned trajectories, which is why traditionally only the time evolution of wave functions is studied in quantum dynamics. These studies are quite insensitive to the underlying structure of quantum phase space dynamics. We identify the flow that is the quantum analog of classical particle
flow along phase portrait lines. It reveals hidden features of quantum dynamics and extra complexity. Being constrained by conserved flow winding numbers, it also introduces topological order into quantum dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number030401
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


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