Physical scales in the Wigner-Boltzmann equation

M. Nedjalkov, S. Selberherr, D. K. Ferry, Dragica Vasileska, P. Dollfus, D. Querlioz, I. Dimov, P. Schwaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The Wigner-Boltzmann equation provides the Wigner single particle theory with interactions with bosonic degrees of freedom associated with harmonic oscillators, such as phonons in solids. Quantum evolution is an interplay of two transport modes, corresponding to the common coherent particle-potential processes, or to the decoherence causing scattering due to the oscillators. Which evolution mode will dominate depends on the scales of the involved physical quantities. A dimensionless formulation of the Wigner-Boltzmann equation is obtained, where these scales appear as dimensionless strength parameters. A notion called scaling theorem is derived, linking the strength parameters to the coupling with the oscillators. It is shown that an increase of this coupling is equivalent to a reduction of both the strength of the electric potential, and the coherence length. Secondly, the existence of classes of physically different, but mathematically equivalent setups of the Wigner-Boltzmann evolution is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-237
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of Physics
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Decoherence
  • Quantum transport
  • Scattering
  • Wigner-Boltzmann equation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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