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Hydrodynamic Models of Quantum Mechanics

Oscar Chavoya-Aceves
Camelback High School
Mathematics Department
4612 North 28th Street
Phoenix, Arizona, 85016 USA
May 30, 2002.

Schrodinger equation for spin-less particles has an exact hydrodynamic
model, which can be used to study quantum transitions, using causal
functions. This has the potential to throw light on the nature of quantum
entanglement, which is not studied here.
Keywords: Quantum Mechanics; Hydrodynamics; Bohm-Aharonov Ef-
fect; Electromagnetic Theory.
PACS: 03.65.G; 03.30.

1 Introduction
As well see, there is a complete hydrodynamic model of the motion of
a spin-less quantum particle in an external field, in such manner that to
each stationary state there corresponds a steady flux of the model.
Given that there is a well defined procedure to transform wave func-
tions into hydrodynamic fields, and viceversa, this opens the possibility of
studying quantum transitions as unsteady fluxes. The use of this method
could throw light on the nature of quantum entanglement, which is not
studied in this paper, since the hydrodynamic analogy is valid even for
many-particle systems, at least when the masses are equal.
In absence of magnetic fields, the hydrodynamic field, which is the
quantum field of velocity, defined as the quotient of the current of proba-
bility and the corresponding density, represents a potential motion.
If there is a magnetic field the velocity becomes rotational, and
v= H, (1)
Submitted to Physics Letters A (05/30/02).

which explains the Bohm-Aharonov effect[1], and calls to investigate a
physical connection between quantum momentum and the vector poten-
tial of the electromagnetic field. This is a hydrodynamic version of the
operational equation p = ih + ec A, which is the quantum counterpart
of the equation
P = mv + A, (2)
that defines the generalized momentum of a charged particle under the
action of an electromagnetic field, in the realm of analytic mechanics.
Hydrodynamic analogies were used before to model quantum sys-
tems in the classical limit [2]. Those models were derived from Bohr-
Sommerfelds old quantum theory and the correspondence principle, which
lead to suppose that, in the classical limit, the phase of the wave function
becomes equal to the mechanical action. Those analogies are not valid in
general, because the gradient of Bohms potential [3], which is precisely the
term from which the quantum stress tensor of the hydrodynamic model
is formed, is neglected.
As well see, however, there are valid hydrodynamic analogies even for
strictly quantum motions, because, as follows from Schrodinger equation,
(mv + A) = 0, (3)
mv + A = h. (4)
where v is the quantum field of velocities, A is the vector potential of the
electromagnetic field, and is the phase of the wave function.

2 The Hydrodynamic Model

From Schrodinger Equation

ih = 4 + V (5)
t 2m
where is the wave function and V is the potential energy of a classical
particle, it is shown that

+j= 0 (6)
? , (7)
which is interpreted as a distribution of probability, and
j (? ? ) (8)
Equation (8) can be written as

? 2im
= v. (9)
? h

where we have introduced the velocity field
v . (10)

Taking the gradient of both sides of (7), and dividing the resulting
equation by , we get
+ = (11)
Adding (9) and (11)
(2 ln ln ) = .
mv = h; (12)
= (ln 2 ln ) (13)

= Exp (i). (14)
Observe that, according to equation (12)

p = h4, (15)

p = 0, (16)
p mv. (17)
In particular, I
p dl = 0 (18)

for any closed path.

According to the continuity equation the material derivative of the
density is given by
D h
= v = 4. (19)
Dt m
As it is well known from Quantum Mechanics ([2] p. 223), doing the
substitution (14) the Schrodinger equation (5) is transformed into a pair
of real equations

m + ( ) + 4 = 0. (20)
t 2
+ +V +Q = 0 (21)
t 2m
h2 4
Q (22)
is the quantum potential of the De Broglie-Bohm theory.

Equation (20) is mathematically equivalent to (6), which is written as:

+ (v) = 0. (23)
We use equations (12) and (21), as well as the identity
v2 = v ( v) + (v )v, (24)
to show that
m + m(v )v = V Q. (25)
Equation (25) can also be written in the form
m + (v )v = V + F. (26)
m m ; F Q = ( 4 4 ) (27)
removing thus the divergence of Bohms quantum potential.
It is easily shown that F is the divergence of a second order symmetric
Fi = j Tij ; Tij = ( ij i j ). (28)
The magnitude

Tii h2
P = = (( )2 4 ) (29)
3 6m
is a kind of pressure, whilst the tensor

ij = Tij + P ij , (30)

plays the role of a shearing stress[4].

Equations (12), (14), (23), (25) and the condition
dv = 1 (31)

make up a complete hydrodynamic representation of the motions de-

scribed by (5). They model the flux of probability as a flux of classical
locally interacting particles. The hydrodynamic view, however, is more
general than Schrodingers view, because it allows us to make statements
about the motion between stationary states, and about the motions that
result from the relaxation of the condition v = 0, and test the validity
of those statements.
Its well known from quantum mechanics that if V is the potential
of a central field of forces the eigenfunctions of the Hamiltonian can be
chosen real, and the corresponding field of velocity is zero everywhere.
Those states correspond to the hydrostatic limit of equations (23,25),
where v 0 and t
= 0. In this limit

(V + Q) = 0, (32)

that has the solution
V + Q = E, (33)

which is equivalent to the equation that results from dividing by both
sides of the time independent Schrodinger equation:

4 + V = E, (34)

because = where the wave function is real.
In general, a stationary state of the system described by equation (5)
corresponds to a steady flux of the hydrodynamic model, and the value
of the energy corresponds to Bernoullis integral of hydrodynamics.
The equations for steady flux are

m(v )v = V Q. (35)

(v) = 0 (36)
If the flux is irrotational, m(v )v = 1
m(v2 ), and equation (35) is
transformed into  
1 2
v + V + Q = 0, (37)
that has a first integral
()2 + V + Q = E, (38)
where is a scalar potential for the field mv, which is also irrotational.
The continuity equation takes the form

() = 0. (39)

Equations (38) and (39) determine the solutions of the time indepen-
dent Schrodinger equation, when the wave function is written in the form

= Exp( i h
There is also a Bernoulli theorem for unsteady irrotational flux([4]).
Lets do the substitutions m(v )v = 12 m(v2 ) and mv = in (25):

+ ()2 = V Q. (40)
t 2m
This equation can be written as.
+ ()2 + V + Q = 0, (41)
t 2m
showing that there is a function f (t) such that
+ ()2 + V + Q = f (t). (42)
t 2m
+ ()2 + V + Q = 0, (43)
t 2m

where Z
= f (t). (44)

Equation (42) is equivalent to (21), which together with the continuity

equation, determines the evolution of non stationary quantum states.
This suggests that, at least for this system, non steady and possibly
rotational fluxes, could be used to describe quantum jumps using causal

3 Charged Particle in an Electromagnetic

The wave equation for a charged particle in an electromagnetic field gen-
erated by the electrodynamic potentials and A, subject to the Coulomb
A = 0, (45)
h2 e e2
ih = 4 + ih A + A2 + e. (46)
t 2m mc 2mc2
In this case
ih e
j= (? ? ) ? A, (47)
2m c
that can be written in the form
? 2i e
= mv + A . (48)
? h c
Adding (48) and (11) we find that
mv + A = h (49)
= (ln 2 ln ) (50)
Observe that now we have
p = h4 (51)

e e
p = A = H, (52)
c c
where H is the magnetic field.
Furthermore I
p.dl = H (53)
where H is the magnetic flux embraced by the circuit of integration.
Equation (52) shows that we could explain the Bohm-Aharonov effect
as a manifestation of a physical relation between the field of momentum
and the vector potential of the electromagnetic field. Actually:
d e d
mv = , (54)
dt c dt H

which according to Faraday-Lenz law should be equal to
e E.dl, (55)

where E is the intensity of the electric field.

From (49) and (52), we deduce that

= Exp(i), (56)

allowing us to show that (46) is equivalent to a pair of real equations(v.


h h e
= 4 + A (57)
t m 2m mc
1 e
h = h A + e + Q (58)
t 2m c
Using equation (49), (57) is transformed into
1 e 1 e e
= mv + A mv + A + A .
t m c 2m c mc
Which, on account of (45), can be simplified to (20), which is equivalent
to the continuity equation.
We use now (49) to transform (58) into
h = mv2 + e + Q. (60)
t 2
We take the gradient of both sides of this equation and reorder the
terms to obtain

 e 1

mv + A + mv2 = e Q (61)
t c 2
and then
v 1
m + mv2 = eE Q, (62)
t 2
1 A
E = (63)
c t
equals the external electric field.
Using (24), (27) and (52), (62) can be written in the form
 v  e
m + (v )v = eE + v H + F, (64)
t c
showing thus that, also in this case, there is a valid hydrodynamic analogy.

4 A relativistic model of particle-wave
We consider a theoretical system made of two covariant fields and pa ,
such that
pa pa = k 2 (65)
a (pa ) = 0. (66)
From (65)
pb a pb = 0. (67)
pb a pb = pb a (pb ) pb pb a = 0, (68)
which can be written in the form

pb a (pb ) + k2 a = 0. (69)

We use this to prove that

pb b (pa ) = pb (b (pa ) a (pb )) + k2 a , (70)


pb b (pa ) = pb (b pa a pb ) + pb (pa b pb a ) + k2 a (71)

= pb (b pa a pb ) + pb pa b .
Equation (71) can be written in the form

e pa pb
ub b (pa ) = Fab ub + b , (72)
c k
where e is the electronic charge; c is the speed of light;
ua = (73)
is the four-velocity associated to pa ; Fab is an electromagnetic field gen-
erated by a four-potential Aa , such that
pa + Aa = a , (74)
and is a solution of the differential equation
pa a
a a = a pa = . (75)

(The second equality follows from equation (66).)
Equation(72) describes a relativistic flux of charged particles under
the action of an electromagnetic field and a density of four-force

pb b
fa = va pb b = va = (76)

= va b b .

Under this interpretation pa is the four-momentum of the particles and
is the density of particles in the system of reference where they are in
According to equation (75), fa is a kind of reaction associated to in-
terchange, creation and/or annihilation of particles, all of them processes
under which the elements of the fluid lose their physical individuality, as
has been observed by Prandtl & Tietjens[5].
Equations (74) and (75) are analogous to (49) and (19). Also,
Fab = (a pb b pa ), (77)
which is analogous to (52).
The electronic charge e and the mass of the particles, however, are in-
troduced here in an arbitrary fashion. Also, although has the units
of action, it is not completely clear why Plancks constant should be
introducedas the standard deviation of , for example.
Finally we note that the electrical current associated to the field Fik
is given by the equation:
4 c
ja = b Fab = (a b pb b b pa ) = (78)
c e
(a b b b b pa ),
which, again, includes a term that could be associated to interchange,
creation and/or annihilation of particles.

5 Appendix
Lets write the solution of equation (46) in the form

= Xei . (79)

X i
ih = ih hX e (80)
t t t

h2 h2 
4 = 4X 2iX + X()2 iX4 ei (81)
2m 2m

eh eh
i A = (iA X XA ) ei (82)
mc mc
Adding term by term the real and imaginary parts of equations (80),
(81) and (82), it is shown that (46) is mathematically equivalent to a
system of real equations

X h h e
= X X4 + A X (83)
t m 2m mc
2  2
h 4X 1 e
h = + h A + e (84)
t 2m X 2m c

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