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When information goes back to open quantum systems

EU-funded scientists studied a class of quantum systems that display memory features. The results apply to a wide range of ultrafast physical processes like light harvesting in photosynthesis
When information goes back to open quantum systems
Ultrafast physical processes captured the attention of the scientists working on the EU-funded project MICRONM (Microscopic derivation of non Markovian dynamics) because they arise in condensed matter physics, biophysics and even chemistry. From a theoretical point of view, all these processes are described by systems interacting with the surrounding environment.

The most successful theories for such open systems rely on the Markovian approximation that implies a large difference between the timescales of the systems and their environment. However, ultrafast processes are those in which the timescales are comparable, and the environment is not fast enough to return to equilibrium once disturbed.

In other words, the equations describing open systems are non-Markovian. However, the project scientists showed that a subclass of non-Markovian system dynamics is analytically tractable, similar to the Markovian class. Specifically, they found and parametrised the class of stochastic Schrödinger equations that unravel the master equations of open systems displaying memory features. Moreover, the project scientists provided the explicit expression for the effective dynamics approximating with an arbitrary small error. This achievement provides a powerful tool for the investigation of non-Markovian dynamics also at the numerical level.

MICRONM results are not spectacular in the sense that not all open problems in physics, biophysics and chemistry exhibiting non-Markovian behaviour can be solved. Nonetheless, the mathematical rigour of the proposed approach offers a better understanding of how one should proceed to find such desired solutions.

Related information

Keywords

Open quantum systems, memory features, ultrafast physical processes, Markovian, Schrödinger equations
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