Quantal Brownian motion - Dephasing and dissipation Academic Article uri icon


  • We analyse quantal Brownian motion in d dimensions using the unified model for diffusion localization and dissipation, and Feynman-Vernon formalism. At high temperatures the propagator possesses a Markovian property and we can write down an equivalent master equation. Unlike the case of the Zwanzig-Caldeira-Leggett model, genuine quantum mechanical effects manifest themselves due to the disordered nature of the environment. Using Wigner's picture of the dynamics we distinguish between two different mechanisms for destruction of coherence: scattering perturbative mechanism and smearing non-perturbative mechanism. The analysis of dephasing is extended to the low-temperature regime by using a semiclassical strategy. Various results are derived for ballistic, chaotic, diffusive, both ergodic and non-ergodic motion. We also analyse loss of coherence at the limit of zero temperature and clarify the limitations of the semiclassical approach. The condition for having coherent effect due to scattering by low-frequency fluctuations is also pointed out. It is interesting that the dephasing rate can be either larger or smaller than the dissipation rate, depending on the physical circumstances.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998