Influence of damping on quantum interference: An exactly soluble model

A. O. Caldeira, A. J. Leggett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports the result of a calculation which shows the effect of damping on the quantum interference of two Gaussian wave packets in a harmonic potential. We use the influence-functional method, which seems to be the most appropriate one for this kind of calculation. It is shown that quantum interference effects are severely diminished by the presence of damping even when its influence on the system is only light. The corrections to the undamped formulas are always expressible in terms of the phenomenological damping constant, the temperature T (in the high-temperature limit), the cutoff frequency () of the reservoir oscillators, and the mean number (N) of quanta of energy initially present in the system. Both weakly and strongly damped systems are analyzed in the regime of low and high temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1059-1066
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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