Wavepackets in inhomogeneous periodic media: Effective particle-field dynamics and Berry curvature

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We consider a model of an electron in a crystal moving under the influence of an external electric field: Schrödinger's equation with a potential which is the sum of a periodic function and a general smooth function. We identify two dimensionless parameters: (re-scaled) Planck's constant and the ratio of the lattice spacing to the scale of variation of the external potential. We consider the special case where both parameters are equal and denote this parameter ∈. In the limit ∈ ↓ 0, we prove the existence of solutions known as semiclassical wavepackets which are asymptotic up to "Ehrenfest time" t ln 1/∈. To leading order, the center of mass and average quasimomentum of these solutions evolve along trajectories generated by the classical Hamiltonian given by the sum of the Bloch band energy and the external potential. We then derive all corrections to the evolution of these observables proportional to ∈. The corrections depend on the gauge-invariant Berry curvature of the Bloch band and a coupling to the evolution of the wave-packet envelope, which satisfies Schrödinger's equation with a time-dependent harmonic oscillator Hamiltonian. This infinite dimensional coupled "particle-field" system may be derived from an "extended" ∈-dependent Hamiltonian. It is known that such coupling of observables (discrete particle-like degrees of freedom) to the wave-envelope (continuum field-like degrees of freedom) can have a significant impact on the overall dynamics.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Watson, AB; Lu, J; Weinstein, MI

Published Date

  • February 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 58 / 2

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-2488

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1063/1.4976200

Citation Source

  • Scopus