Distribution theory for Schrödinger’s integral equation

R.J. Lange

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Much of the literature on point interactions in quantum mechanics has focused on the differential form of Schrödinger's equation. This paper, in contrast, investigates the integral form of Schrödinger's equation. While both forms are known to be equivalent for smooth potentials, this is not true for distributional potentials. Here, we assume that the potential is given by a distribution defined on the space of discontinuous test functions. First, by using Schrödinger's integral equation, we confirm a seminal result by Kurasov, which was originally obtained in the context of Schrödinger's differential equation. This hints at a possible deeper connection between both forms of the equation. We also sketch a generalisation of Kurasov's [J. Math. Anal. Appl. 201(1), 297-323 (1996)] result to hypersurfaces. Second, we derive a new closed-form solution to Schrödinger's integral equation with a delta prime potential. This potential has attracted considerable attention, including some controversy. Interestingly, the derived propagator satisfies boundary conditions that were previously derived using Schrödinger's differential equation. Third, we derive boundary conditions for "super-singular" potentials given by higher-order derivatives of the delta potential. These boundary conditions cannot be incorporated into the normal framework of self-adjoint extensions. We show that the boundary conditions depend on the energy of the solution and that probability is conserved. This paper thereby confirms several seminal results and derives some new ones. In sum, it shows that Schrödinger's integral equation is a viable tool for studying singular interactions in quantum mechanics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122105
JournalJournal of Mathematical Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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