Nonuniqueness of generalized quantum master equations for a single observable

Nathan Ng*, David T. Limmer, Eran Rabani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When deriving exact generalized master equations for the evolution of a reduced set of degrees of freedom, one is free to choose what quantities are relevant by specifying projection operators. However, obtaining a reduced description does not always need to be achieved through projections—one can also use conservation laws for this purpose. Such an operation should be considered as distinct from any kind of projection; that is, projection onto a single observable yields a different form of master equation compared to that resulting from a projection followed by the application of a constraint. We give a simple example to show this point and give relationships that the different memory kernels must satisfy to yield the same dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156101
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - 21 Oct 2021


FundersFunder number
Physical Chemistry of Inorganic Nanostruc-tures ProgramKC3103
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Science
Basic Energy Sciences
Division of Materials Sciences and EngineeringDEAC02-05-CH11231


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