Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol.116, No.19, 8492-8503, 2002
Properties of the path-integral quantum hard-sphere fluid in k space
The properties of quantum fluids in Fourier space, as the system response functions to weak external fields, are analyzed taking the quantum hard-sphere fluid as a probe. This serves to clarify the physical meaning of the different radial correlation functions that can be defined in a path-integral quantum fluid, since these functions are the r-space counterparts of the response functions. The basic feature of the external field relevant to this discussion is connected with its localizing/nonlocalizing effect on the quantum particles composing the fluid (i.e., a localizing field causes the collapse of the particle thermal packet). Fields that localize the quantum particles reveal the so-called instantaneous quantities (e.g., the conventional static structure factor), which are related with the diagonal elements of the density matrix. Fields that do not localize the quantum particles show the so-called linear response quantities, which are related to the diagonal and the off-diagonal density matrix elements. To perform this study the path-integral formalism is considered from the functional analysis approach. Given that the Gaussian Feynman-Hibbs effective potential picture is known to represent well many structural features of the quantum hard-sphere fluid, the parallel study of the response functions within this picture is also presented. In particular, the latter picture provides an accurate Ornstein-Zernike scheme that can be used for numerical calculations of response functions over a wide range of conditions, and also gives fine estimates for quantities difficult to compute with the path integral. Results for the quantum hard-sphere fluid obtained within the latter scheme are reported, tests of consistency are given, and the possibility of approximating the instantaneous response function by means of the coherent part of the linear response function is assessed.