Nonperturbative stochastic method for driven spin-boson model

Peter P. Orth, Adilet Imambekov, Karyn Le Hur

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67 Scopus citations


We introduce and apply a numerically exact method for investigating the real-time dissipative dynamics of quantum impurities embedded in a macroscopic environment beyond the weak-coupling limit. We focus on the spin-boson Hamiltonian that describes a two-level system interacting with a bosonic bath of harmonic oscillators. This model is archetypal for investigating dissipation in quantum systems, and tunable experimental realizations exist in mesoscopic and cold-atom systems. It finds abundant applications in physics ranging from the study of decoherence in quantum computing and quantum optics to extended dynamical mean-field theory. Starting from the real-time Feynman-Vernon path integral, we derive an exact stochastic Schrödinger equation that allows us to compute the full spin density matrix and spin-spin correlation functions beyond weak coupling. We greatly extend our earlier work by fleshing out the core concepts of the method and by presenting a number of interesting applications. Methodologically, we present an analogy between the dissipative dynamics of a quantum spin and that of a classical spin in a random magnetic field. This analogy is used to recover the well-known noninteracting-blip approximation in the weak-coupling limit. We explain in detail how to compute spin-spin autocorrelation functions. As interesting applications of our method, we explore the non-Markovian effects of the initial spin-bath preparation on the dynamics of the coherence σx(t) and of σz(t) under a Landau-Zener sweep of the bias field. We also compute to a high precision the asymptotic long-time dynamics of σz(t) without bias and demonstrate the wide applicability of our approach by calculating the spin dynamics at nonzero bias and different temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014305
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 25 2013


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