Classical diffusion of a quantum particle in a noisy environment

Ariel Amir, Yoav Lahini, Hagai B. Perets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the spreading of a quantum-mechanical wave packet in a tight-binding model with a noisy potential and analyze the emergence of classical diffusion from the quantum dynamics due to decoherence. We consider a finite correlation time of the noisy environment and treat the system by utilizing the separation of fast (dephasing) and slow (diffusion) processes. We show that classical diffusive behavior emerges at long times and we calculate analytically the dependence of the classical diffusion coefficient on the noise magnitude and correlation time. This method provides a general solution to this problem for arbitrary conditions of the noisy environment. The calculation can be done in any dimension, but we demonstrate it in one dimension for clarity of representation. The results are relevant to a large variety of physical systems, from electronic transport in solid-state physics to light transmission in optical devices, diffusion of excitons, and quantum computation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number050105
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 22 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


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