Wigner's representation of quantum mechanics in integral form and its applications

Dimitris Kakofengitis, Maxime Oliva, Ole Steuernagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


We consider quantum phase space dynamics using the Wigner representation of quantum mechanics. We stress the usefulness of the integral form for the description of Wigner's phase space current~$\bm J$ as an alternative to the popular Moyal bracket. The integral form brings out the symmetries between momentum and position representations of quantum mechanics, is numerically stable, and allows us to perform some calculations using elementary integrals instead of Groenewold star-products. Our central result is an explicit, elementary proof which shows that only systems up to quadratic in their potential fulfil Liouville's theorem of volume preservation in quantum mechanics. Contrary to a recent suggestion, our proof shows that the non-Liouvillian character of quantum phase space dynamics cannot be transformed away.
Original languageEnglish
Article number022127
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2017


  • quant-ph


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