Skip to main content
Fractional Schrödinger Dynamics and Decoherence
Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
  • Kay Kirkpatrick
  • Yanzhi Zhang, Missouri University of Science and Technology

We study the dynamics of the Schrödinger equation with a fractional Laplacian (−Δ)α and the decoherence of the solution is observed. Analytically, we obtain equations of motion for the expected position and momentum in the fractional Schödinger equation, equations that are the fractional counterpart of the well-known Newtonian equations of motion for the standard (α=1α=1) Schrödinger equation. Numerically, we propose an explicit, effective numerical method for solving the time-dependent fractional nonlinear Schrödinger equation—a method that has high order spatial accuracy, requires little memory, and has low computational cost. We apply our method to study the dynamics of fractional Schrödinger equation and find that the nonlocal interactions from the fractional Laplacian introduce decoherence into the solution. The local nonlinear interactions can however reduce or delay the emergence of decoherence. Moreover, we find that the solution of the standard NLS behaves more like a particle, but the solution of the fractional NLS behaves more like a wave with interference effects.

Mathematics and Statistics
Research Center/Lab(s)
Center for High Performance Computing Research
Keywords and Phrases
  • Fractional Schrödinger equation,
  • Fourier pseudo-spectral method,
  • Center of mass,
  • Fractional momentum,
  • Decoherence
Document Type
Article - Journal
Document Version
File Type
© 2016 Elsevier, All rights reserved.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kay Kirkpatrick and Yanzhi Zhang. "Fractional Schrödinger Dynamics and Decoherence" Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena Vol. 332 (2016) p. 41 - 54 ISSN: 0167-2789
Available at: