Refraction, interference, and diffraction are distinguishing features of wavelike phenomena. Although they are usually associated only with a purely spatial wave-propagation pattern, analogs to interference and diffraction involving the spatio-temporal dynamics of waves in one dimension have been discussed. We complete the triplet of analogies by discussing how spatio-temporal analogs to refraction are exhibited by a quantum particle in one dimension that is scattering off a step barrier. Similarly, birefringence in spacetime occurs for a spin-1/2 particle in a magnetic field.
2011. Vol. 79, no 6