We discuss a quantum effect in the diffusion process by developing a theory, which takes the finite curvature of the potential field into account. The transport coefficients of our theory satisfy the well-known fluctuation-dissipation theorem in the limit of Markovian approximation in the cases of diffusion in a flat potential and in a potential well. For the diffusion along a potential barrier, the diffusion coefficient can be related to the friction coefficient by an analytic continuation of the fluctuation-dissipation theorem for the case of diffusion along a potential well in the asymptotic time, but contains strong non-Markovian effects at short times. By applying our theory to the case of realistic values of the temperature, the barrier curvature, and the friction coefficient, we show that the quantum effects will play significant roles in describing the synthesis of superheavy elements, i.e., the evolution from the fusion barrier to the conditional saddle, in terms of a diffusion process. We especially point out the importance of the memory effect, which increases at lower temperatures. It makes the net quantum effects enhance the probability of crossing the conditional saddle.
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