Time-dependent semiclassical tunneling through barriers

Kenneth G. Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


There has been a surprising degree of uncertainty about how, or even whether, the standard semiclassical theory of Van Vleck and Gutzwiller (VVG) can be used to treat the time-dependent dynamics of tunneling through barriers. At issue is how semiclassical theory describes the time evolution of tunneling. This uncertainty has hindered development of practical techniques for semiclassical calculations of multidimensional systems. It is shown here that the VVG theory can indeed be applied to barrier tunneling, but generally requires consideration of classical trajectories with both complex initial conditions and complex time paths, even for systems with one degree of freedom. The present approach is verified by applying it to the classically forbidden propagation of a wave packet through a one-dimensional barrier - a very basic problem that cannot be treated by the VVG theory without the modifications described here.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012122
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 23 Jul 2013


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