Current Developments in Mathematics

Volume 2009

Recent developments in mathematical quantum chaos

Pages: 115 – 204



Steve Zelditch (Department of Mathematics, Johns Hopkins University)


This is a survey of recent results on quantum ergodicity, specifically on the large energy limits of matrix elements relative to eigenfunctions of the Laplacian. It is mainly devoted to QUE (quantum unique ergodicity) results, i.e. results on the possible existence of a sparse subsequence of eigenfunctions with anomalous concentration. We cover the lower bounds on entropies of quantum limit measures due to Anantharaman, Nonnenmacher, and Rivière on compact Riemannian manifolds with Anosov flow. These lower bounds give new constraints on the possible quantum limits. We also cover the non-QUE result of Hassell in the case of the Bunimovich stadium. We include some discussion of Hecke eigenfunctions and recent results of Soundararajan completing Lindenstrauss’ QUE result, in the context of matrix elements for Fourier integral operators. Finally, in answer to the potential question “why study matrix elements” it presents an application by the author to the geometry of nodal sets.

Published 1 January 2009