In doing so, they have paved the way for new insights into the complex mutual interactions between the particles in extreme environments such as at the heart of large planets or laser nuclear fusion.
Researchers at the University of Warwick and University of Oxford have developed a new way to simulate quantum systems of many particles, that allows for the investigation of the dynamic properties of quantum systems fully coupled to slowly moving ions.
Simulation - Quantum - Electrons - Restrictions - Effect
Effectively, they have made the simulation of the quantum electrons so fast that it could run extremely long without restrictions and the effect of their motion on the movement of the slow ions would be visible.
Reported in the journal Science Advances, it is based on a long-known alternative formulation of quantum mechanics (Bohm dynamics) which the scientists have now empowered to allow to study the dynamics of large quantum systems.
Quantum - Phenomena - Interacting - Particles - Quantum
Many quantum phenomena have been studied for single or just a few interacting particles as large complex quantum systems overpower scientists' theoretical and computational capabilities to make predictions. This is complicated by the vast difference in timescale the different particle species act on: ions evolve thousands of times more slowly than electrons due to their larger mass. To overcome this problem, most methods involve decoupling electrons and ions and ignoring the dynamics of their interactions -- but this severely limits our knowledge on quantum dynamics.
To develop a method that allows scientists to account for the full electron-ion interactions, the researchers revived an old alternative formulation of quantum mechanics developed by David Bohm. In quantum mechanics, one needs to know the wave function of a particle. It turns out that describing it by the mean trajectory and a phase, as done by Bohm, is very advantageous. However, it took an additional suit of approximations and many tests to speed up...
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