3 years ago

Tunneling Flight Time, Chemistry, and Special Relativity

Tunneling Flight Time, Chemistry, and Special Relativity
Eli Pollak, Jakob Petersen
Attosecond ionization experiments have not resolved the question “What is the tunneling time?”. Different definitions of tunneling time lead to different results. Second, a zero tunneling time for a material particle suggests that the nonrelativistic theory includes speeds greater than the speed of light. Chemical reactions, occurring via tunneling, should then not be considered in terms of a nonrelativistic quantum theory calling into question quantum dynamics computations on tunneling reactions. To answer these questions, we define a new experimentally measurable paradigm, the tunneling flight time, and show that it vanishes for scattering through an Eckart or a square barrier, irrespective of barrier length or height, generalizing the Hartman effect. We explain why this result does not lead to experimental measurement of speeds greater than the speed of light. We show that this tunneling is an incoherent process by comparing a classical Wigner theory with exact quantum mechanical computations.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02018

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02018

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