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The concepts of stationary and dynamical decoherence and their time scales

  • Polonyi, Janos
Publication Date
May 03, 2016
Submission Date
May 03, 2016
arXiv ID: 1605.00834
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To study the phenomenon of decoherence the effective Lagrangian of a test particle interacting with an ideal gas is derived in the leading order of the perturbation expansion and in order $\ord{\partial^2_t}$. Two concepts of decoherence are distinguished and investigated in details: The general dynamical decoherence and the stationary decoherence, an approximation of the dynamical phenomenon corresponding to the assumption of a static test particle trajectory. Comparison of the stationary decoherence described by the present effective theory with the traditional description of decoherence based on collision theory reveals a qualitative similarity within their domain of applicability. However, the effective theory predicts comparable time scales for decoherence and dissipation in contrast to the deviation of this scales by many orders of magnitudes, estimated by referring to the collision approach. In particular the extremely fast decoherence predicted by the collisional approach can only be reproduced by the effective theory for parameter values which violate the applicability of both approaches. On the other hand, in harmonic systems, the true dynamical decoherence is indeed an extremely fast process involving a double exponential time dependence. It is argued that, in realistic systems, the dissipative effective dynamics is non-perturbative in nature and its asymptotic, relaxed state incorporates strong quantum fluctuations.

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