The Stark effect in linear potentials

R. W. Robinett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We examine the Stark effect (the second-order shifts in the energy spectrum due to an external constant force) for two one-dimensional model quantum mechanical systems described by linear potentials, the so-called quantum bouncer (defined by V(z) = Fz for z > 0 and V(z) = ∞ for z < 0) and the symmetric linear potential (given by V(z) = F|z|). We show how straightforward use of the most obvious properties of the Airy function solutions and simple Taylor expansions gives closed form results for the Stark shifts in both systems. These exact results are then compared to other approximation techniques, such as perturbation theory and WKB methods. These expressions add to the small number of closed-form descriptions available for the Stark effect in model quantum mechanical systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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