Master and Langevin equations for electromagnetic dissipation and decoherence of density matrices
Institut für Theoretische Physik, Freie Universität Berlin, Arnimallee 14, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Corresponding author: a email@example.com
Revised: 11 February 2001
Published online: 15 June 2001
We set up a forward -backward path integral for a point particle in a bath of photons to derive a master equation for the density matrix which describes electromagnetic dissipation and decoherence. We also derive the associated Langevin equation. As an application, we recalculate the Wigner-Weisskopf formula for the natural line width of an atomic state at zero temperature and find, in addition, the temperature broadening caused by the decoherence term. Our master equation also yields the correct Lamb shift of atomic levels. The two equations may have applications to dilute interstellar gases or to few-particle systems in cavities.
PACS: 03.65.-w – Quantum mechanics / 03.65.Yz – Decoherence; open systems; quantum statistical methods / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion / 05.45.-a – Nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2001