Bohm-Aharonov type effects in dissipative atomic systems

Solomon, A.I. and Schirmer, S.G. (2006). Bohm-Aharonov type effects in dissipative atomic systems. In: Ge, Mo-Lin and Zhang, Weiping eds. Differential geometry and physics. Nankai Tracts in Mathematics, 10. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company, pp. 420–428.




A state in quantum mechanics is defined as a positive operator of norm 1. For finite systems, this may be thought of as a positive matrix of trace 1. This constraint of positivity imposes severe restrictions on the allowed evolution of such a state. From the mathematical viewpoint, we describe the two forms of standard dynamical equations - global (Kraus) and local (Lindblad) - and show how each of these gives rise to a semi-group description of the evolution. We then look at specific examples from atomic systems, involving 3-level systems for simplicity, and show how these mathematical constraints give rise to non-intuitive physical phenomena, reminiscent of Bohm-Aharonov effects.
In particular, we show that for a multi-level atomic system it is generally impossible to isolate the levels, and this leads to observable effects on the population relaxation and decoherence.

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