Wigner quasi-probability distribution is the main tools used in the formulation of Quantum mechanics on phase space which is equivalent to usual formulations. This distribution can have negative values at some region, unlike usual probability distributions is non-negative.

I'm new about this subjects, and so I searched about this distribution. I found this sentences in Wikipedia.

Regions of such negative value are provable (by convolving them with a small Gaussian) to be "small": they cannot extend to compact regions larger than a few $ħ$, and hence disappear in the classical limit. They are shielded by the uncertainty principle, which does not allow precise location within phase-space regions smaller than $ħ$, and thus renders such "negative probabilities" less paradoxical.

This result is very fascinating and so, I would like to find the proofs or the papers mentioned about this, However, it is too tough to find because Wikipedia doesn't cite anythings.

Hence, I would like to know where this result is proven.

  • $\begingroup$ what resources have you consulted thus far? Have you looked at the canonical review papers on the topic (one co-authored by Wigner himself)? A place to start (but which doesn't quite give you what you exactly want) is Case WB. Wigner functions and Weyl transforms for pedestrians. American Journal of Physics. 2008 Oct;76(10):937-46 but maybe you need to start at a more advanced level? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero In fact, I just want to know the proof and prerequisites for understanding that. Maybe what I want to find is just the references. Resource-request is not a quite good tag for my purpose. But, what you recommended looks nice to read. $\endgroup$
    – ChoMedit
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 20:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ for original literature see this question physics.stackexchange.com/q/730869 $\endgroup$
    – hyportnex
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 22:24

1 Answer 1


I don't know if the following is what you need, but if one smooths Wigner function over a volume $h$ of phase space, one obtains Husimi function, which is non-negative everywhere (see, e.g., Ballentine, Quantum mechanics, Chapter 15).

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for suggestion. I thought that the original statement in Wikipedia is ambiguous. There are severy way to describe the statement under suitable mathematical rigor. By the way, i'll check that the suggestion and the question is equivalent to the positiveness of the Husimi function. $\endgroup$
    – ChoMedit
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 7:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.