Abstract: In molecular dynamics applications there is a growing interest in so-called mixed quantum-classical models. These models describe most atoms of the molecular system by the means of classical mechanics but an important, small portion of the system by the means of quantum mechanics. A particularly extensively used model, the QCMD model, consists of a singularly perturbed Schrodinger equation nonlinearly coupled to a classical Newtonian equation of motion.

This paper studies the singular limit of the QCMD model for finite dimensional Hilbert spaces. The main result states that this limit is given by the time-dependent Born-Oppenheimer model of quantum theory ---provided the Hamiltonian under consideration has a smooth spectral decomposition. This result is strongly related to the quantum adiabatic theorem. The proof uses the method of weak convergence by directly discussing the density matrix instead of the wave functions. This technique avoids the discussion of highly oscillatory phases.

On the other hand, the limit of the QCMD model is of a different nature if the spectral decomposition of the Hamiltonian happens not to be smooth. We will present a generic example for which the limit set is not a unique trajectory of a limit dynamical system but rather a funnel consisting of infinitely many trajectories.