Towards a theory of metastability in open quantum dynamics
Macieszczak, Katarzyna and Guţă, Mădălin and Lesanovsky, Igor and Garrahan, Juan P. (2016) Towards a theory of metastability in open quantum dynamics. Physical Review Letters, 116 (24). 240404/1-240404/6. ISSN 1079-7114
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.240404
By generalizing concepts from classical stochastic dynamics, we establish the basis for a theory of metastability in Markovian open quantum systems. Partial relaxation into long-lived metastable states—distinct from the asymptotic stationary state—is a manifestation of a separation of time scales due to a splitting in the spectrum of the generator of the dynamics. We show here how to exploit this spectral structure to obtain a low dimensional approximation to the dynamics in terms of motion in a manifold of metastable states constructed from the low-lying eigenmatrices of the generator. We argue that the metastable manifold is in general composed of disjoint states, noiseless subsystems, and decoherence-free subspaces.
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