Open system evolution and “memory dressing”

Irena Knezevic, David K. Ferry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Due to recent advances in quantum information, as well as in mesoscopic and nanoscale physics, the interest in the theory of open systems and decoherence has significantly increased. In this paper, we present an interesting approach to solving a time-convolutionless equation of motion for the open system reduced density matrix beyond the limit of weak coupling with the environment. Our approach is based on identifying an effective, memory-containing interaction in the equations of motion for the representation submatrices of the evolution operator (these submatices are written in a special basis, adapted for the “partial-trace-free” approach, in the [Formula Presented] Liouville space). We then identify the “memory dressing", a quantity crucial for solving the equation of motion for the reduced density matrix, which separates the effective from the real physical interaction. The memory dressing obeys a self-contained nonlinear equation of motion, which we solve exactly. The solution can be represented in a diagrammatic fashion after introducing an “information exchange propagator", a quantity that describes the transfer of information to and from the system, so the cumulative effect of the information exchange results in the memory dressing. In the case of weak system-environment coupling, we present the expansion of the reduced density matrix in terms of the physical interaction up to the third order. However, our approach is capable of going beyond the weak-coupling limit, and we show how short-time behavior of an open system can be analyzed for arbitrary coupling strength. We illustrate the approach with a simple numerical example of single-particle level broadening for a two-particle interacting system on short time scales. Furthermore, we point out a way to identify the structure of decoherence-free subspaces using the present approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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