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The double well potential in quantum mechanics: a simple, numerically exact formulation

Author: V. Jelic, F. Marsiglio
Url: http://arxiv.org/abs/1209.2521
Format: Ps, Pdf
Year: 2012
Category: Physics Education, Quantum Mechanics
Pages: 10
Clicks: 52

The double well potential is arguably one of the most important potentials in quantum mechanics, because the solution contains the notion of a state as a linear superposition of `classical' states, a concept which has become very important in quantum information theory. It is therefore desirable to have solutions to simple double well potentials that are accessible to the undergraduate student. We describe a method for obtaining the numerically exact eigenenergies and eigenstates for such a model, along with the energies obtained through the Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin (WKB) approximation. The exact solution is accessible with elementary mathematics, though numerical solutions are required. We also find that the WKB approximation is remarkably accurate, not just for the ground state, but for the excited states as well.

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