Effective classical stochastic theory for quantum tunneling

Eyal Heifetz*, Igor Plochotnikov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ensemble mean equations for a classical particle moving stochastically obtain the form of fluid equations. When applying the Madelung transformation to write the Schrödinger equation in a fluid-like form we find that the equations are equivalent to the classical ensemble mean equations if an additional force is added to the equations. The latter can be expressed as a pressure gradient force of a fluctuating pressure with zero mean. Here we analyze the mechanism of quantum tunneling through a rectangular potential barrier from this perspective. We find that despite of the vanishing of the mean of the pressure fluctuations their local non zero gradients enable the tunneling by balancing the counter external potential gradients at the two sides of the potential barrier. Consequently, for stationary solutions, the ensemble mean kinetic energy remains unchanged across the boundaries of the barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126511
JournalPhysics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - 27 Jul 2020


  • Ensemble mean dynamics
  • Madelung equations


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