Behavior of eigenvalues in a region of broken PT symmetry

Carl M. Bender, Nima Hassanpour, Daniel W. Hook, S. P. Klevansky, Christoph Sünderhauf, Zichao Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


PT-symmetric quantum mechanics began with a study of the Hamiltonian H=p2+x2(ix)ϵ. When ϵ≥0, the eigenvalues of this non-Hermitian Hamiltonian are discrete, real, and positive. This portion of parameter space is known as the region of unbroken PT symmetry. In the region of broken PT symmetry, ϵ<0, only a finite number of eigenvalues are real and the remaining eigenvalues appear as complex-conjugate pairs. The region of unbroken PT symmetry has been studied but the region of broken PT symmetry has thus far been unexplored. This paper presents a detailed numerical and analytical examination of the behavior of the eigenvalues for -4<ϵ<0. In particular, it reports the discovery of an infinite-order exceptional point at ϵ=-1, a transition from a discrete spectrum to a partially continuous spectrum at ϵ=-2, a transition at the Coulomb value ϵ=-3, and the behavior of the eigenvalues as ϵ approaches the conformal limit ϵ=-4.

Original languageEnglish
Article number052113
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 15 2017


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