Regular Article - Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
Quantum-tunneling transitions and exact statistical mechanics of bistable systems with parametrized Dikandé–Kofané double-well potentials
Laboratory of Research on Advanced Materials and Nonlinear Science (LaRAMaNS), Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Buea, PO Box 63, Buea, Cameroon
Accepted: 17 December 2021
Published online: 11 January 2022
We consider a one-dimensional system of interacting particles (which can be atoms, molecules, ions, etc.), in which particles are subjected to a bistable potential the double-well shape of which is tunable via a shape deformability parameter. Our objective is to examine the impact of shape deformability on the order of transition in quantum tunneling in the bistable system, and on the possible existence of exact solutions to the transfer-integral operator associated with the partition function of the system. The bistable potential is represented by a class composed of three families of parametrized double-well potentials, whose minima and barrier height can be tuned distinctly. It is found that the extra degree of freedom, introduced by the shape deformability parameter, favors a first-order transition in quantum tunneling, in addition to the second-order transition predicted with the model. This first-order transition in quantum tunneling, which is consistent with Chudnovsky’s conjecture of the influence of the shape of the potential barrier on the order of thermally assisted transitions in bistable systems, is shown to occur at a critical value of the shape-deformability parameter which is the same for the three families of parametrized double-well potentials. Concerning the statistical mechanics of the system, the associate partition function is mapped onto a spectral problem by means of the transfer-integral formalism. The condition that the partition function can be exactly integrable, is determined by a criterion enabling exact eigenvalues and eigenfunctions for the transfer-integral operator. Analytical expressions of some of these exact eigenvalues and eigenfunctions are given, and the corresponding ground-state wavefunctions are used to compute the probability density which is relevant for calculations of thermodynamic quantities such as the correlation functions and the correlation lengths.
© The Author(s) 2022
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.