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Physical Review Letters (2010) 230405
Decoherence and thermalization of a pure quantum state in quantum field theory
A. Giraud1, J. Serreau1

We study the real-time evolution of a self-interacting O(N) scalar field initially prepared in a pure quantum state. We present a complete solution of the nonequilibrium quantum dynamics from a 1/N-expansion of the two-particle-irreducible effective action at next-to-leading order, which includes scattering and memory effects. Restricting one's attention (or ability to measure) to a subset of the infinite hierarchy of correlation functions, the system is described by an effective (reduced) density matrix which, unlike the full density matrix, has a nontrivial time evolution. In particular, starting from a pure quantum state, we observe the loss of putity/coherence and, on longer time scales, thermalization of the reduced density matrix. We point out that the physics of decoherence is well described by classical statistical field theory.
1 :  APC - UMR 7164 - AstroParticule et Cosmologie
Physique/Physique des Hautes Energies - Théorie

Physique/Physique des Hautes Energies - Phénoménologie

Physique/Physique Nucléaire Théorique

Physique/Matière Condensée/Autre
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