Master equation for non-Markovian quantum Brownian motion: The emergence of lateral coherences

Sapphire Lally, Nicholas Werren, Jim Al-Khalili, Andrea Rocco*

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Understanding the behavior of a quantum system coupled to its environment is of fundamental interest in the general field of quantum technologies. It also has important repercussions on foundational problems in physics, such as the process of decoherence and the so-called quantum measurement problem. There have been many approaches to explore Markovian and non-Markovian dynamics within the framework of open quantum systems, but the richness of the ensuing dynamics is still not fully understood. In this paper we develop a non-Markovian extension of the standard Caldeira-Leggett model, based on expanding the dynamics of the reduced system at high temperature in inverse powers of the high-frequency cutoff of the Ohmic spectral density of the environment and derive a non-Markovian master equation for the reduced density matrix for the case of a general potential. We also obtain a fully analytical solution in the free particle case. While the short-time behavior of this solution does not diverge substantially from the Markovian behavior, at intermediate times we find a resurgence of coherence, which we name lateral coherence. We identify this with a corresponding transient negative entropy production rate, which is understood to be characteristic of non-Markovian dynamics. We also analyze the positivity of the reduced density matrix and derive the corresponding Fokker-Planck equation in the classical limit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012209
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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