Driving a damped, anharmonic oscillator produces stable, steady-state excitations according to the familiar classical description. A quantum mechanical description, however, shows the surprising result that such excitations are intrinsically unstable, and can be much smaller than classical expectations. We illustrate by calculating the motion of one electron in a magnetic field. This physically realizable system is among the simplest of nonlinear systems, being anharmonic because of special relativity and being damped by the spontaneous emission of synchrotron radiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)