# Potential step and tunnelling

Imagine a particle with energy $E$ heading towards a potential step with height $V_0$ where $E<V_0$. The particle's wave function is oscillatory before the boundary and exponentially decaying in and after the boundary. However, there is still a small probability the particle can be found in the 'forbidden' region. Is this quantum tunnelling? I read that for a potential step like this, there is a 100% reflection so I'm getting getting the indication that there is no tunnelling.

• You're looking at a stationary state, so you can't say the particle is "heading toward" or "tunneling" or doing anything. Once you make time-dependent wavepackets, you find that the particle 'bleeds into' the barrier a little when it hits it but then completely reflects off, so there's no tunneling. Jun 24, 2016 at 21:56
• When there's genuine tunneling, the resulting wavepacket will have a component on the other side of the barrier for $t \to \infty$. Jun 24, 2016 at 21:56
• So even a particle 'bleeding' even just a little does not count as tunnelling? I think what I have read was about formulating a plane wave. How do I construct the wavepackets then? Jun 24, 2016 at 22:01