Recovery of Purity in Dissipative Tunneling Dynamics

Sambarta Chatterjee, Nancy Makri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The time evolution of purity for an initially localized state of a symmetric two-level system coupled to a dissipative bath is investigated using numerically exact real-time path integral methods. With strong system-bath coupling and high temperature, the purity decays monotonically to its fully mixed value, with a short-time Gaussian behavior, which is subsequently followed by exponential evolution. However, under low-temperature and weak coupling conditions, a substantial recovery of purity is observed. A simple theoretical analysis reveals three contributions that correspond to a completely incoherent, eigenstate population difference and rate terms. The last two of these terms can counter the early drop of purity and are responsible for its rebound. These findings caution against using purity as a measure of decoherence in the dynamics of quantum dissipative systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8592-8596
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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