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In the first term the energies are given by the Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin (WKB) formula

$$ \oint p dq = 2\pi \left( n+\frac{1}{2} \right) $$

However, can this formula be improved to include further corrections? For example the wave function in the WKB approach can be evaluated to several orders of magnitude in $ \hbar $

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

In the following, I'll describe to you how in principle one can compute higher order corrections to the Bohr-Sommerfeld condition. In order to find higher order corrections to the Bohr-Sommerfeld formula, we need to include higher order corrections of the wavefunction of the form:

$\Psi(x) = \sum_n \hbar^n a_n(x) exp(\frac{i}{\hbar} \int^x \sqrt{2m(E-V(y)) }dy)$

Inserting in the Schrodinger equation and requiring fullfilment to each order of $\hbar$, we obtain:

$a_0 = \frac{Const.}{(2m(E-V(y)))^{\frac{1}{4}} }$


$ a_k \Delta S + 2 \nabla a_k. \nabla S = i \Delta a_{k-1}$

where:$ S= \int^x \sqrt{2m(E-V(y)) } dy$. In one dimensions these equations can solved in closed form.

The quantization condition is achieved through the requirement that the wave function phase does not change over a closed loop:

$\oint^x \frac{1}{\Psi} \frac{d\Psi}{dx} dx = 2\pi i n\hbar $

Please see, the following article by A. Voros where this procedure was applied to the anharmonic oscillator. Equation (4.4), describes an explicit solution of the wave function to the first higher order.

Remark: Voros uses the Bargmann representation of the phase space instead of the usual coordinate-momentum representation.

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have you got a good, accessible reference for the Bargmann representation? I remember having trouble finding one last time round. – Emilio Pisanty Dec 10 '12 at 19:00
@Emilio You may find these lecture note by B.C. Hall useful: – David Bar Moshe Dec 11 '12 at 13:34

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