Decoherence due to thermal effects in two quintessential quantum systems

S. Nussinov, T. Madziwa-Nussinov, Z. Nussinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Decoherence effects at finite temperature (T) are examined for two manifestly quantum systems: (i) Casimir forces between parallel plates that conduct along different directions, and (ii) a topological Aharonov–Bohm (AB) type force between fluxons in a superconductor. As we illustrate, standard path integral calculations suggest that thermal effects may remove the angular dependence of the Casimir force in case (i) with a decoherence time set by h/ (kBT) where h is Plank’s constant. This prediction may be tested. The effect in case (ii) is due to a π phase shift picked up by unpaired electrons upon encircling an odd number of fluxons. In principle, this effect may lead to small modifications in Abrikosov lattices. While the AB forces exist at extremely low temperatures, we find that at the pertinent temperatures T= O(Tc) (the critical temperature of the superconductor), thermal decoherence may strongly suppress the topological force. It is suggested that both cases (i) and (ii) (as well as other examples briefly sketched) are related to a quantum version of the fluctuation–dissipation theorem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalQuantum Studies: Mathematics and Foundations
Volume1
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Casimir forces
  • Fluctuation dissipation
  • Quantum decoherence
  • Superconductivity
  • Topological forces

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