Observation of Bohm trajectories and quantum potentials of classical waves

Georgi Gary Rozenman*, Denys I. Bondar, Wolfgang P. Schleich, Lev Shemer, Ady Arie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1952 David Bohm proposed an interpretation of quantum mechanics, in which the evolution of states results from trajectories governed by classical equations of motion but with an additional potential determined by the wave function. There exist only a few experiments that test this concept and they employed weak measurement of non-classical light. In contrast, we reconstruct the Bohm trajectories in a classical hydrodynamic system of surface gravity water waves, by a direct measurement of the wave packet. Our system is governed by a wave equation that is analogous to the Schrödinger equation which enables us to transfer the Bohm formalism to classical waves. In contrast to a quantum system, we can measure simultaneously their amplitude and phase. In our experiments, we employ three characteristic types of surface gravity water wave packets: two and three Gaussian temporal slits and temporal Airy wave packets. The Bohm trajectories and their energy flows follow the valleys and bounce off the hills in the corresponding quantum potential landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044004
JournalPhysica Scripta
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • Bohm
  • pilot wave theory
  • quantum potential
  • surface gravity waves
  • trajectories


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