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Enhancing Metastability by Dissipation and Driving in an Asymmetric Bistable Quantum System

  • Authors: Spagnolo, Bernardo; Carollo, Angelo; Valenti, Davide
  • Publication year: 2018
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: Caldeira-Leggett model; Discrete variable representation; Functional analytical methods; Metastable potential; Noise enhanced stability; Open systems; Quantum statistical methods; Quantum systems with finite Hilbert space; Quantum Zeno dynamics; Resonant activation; Tunneling;
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The stabilizing effect of quantum fluctuations on the escape process and the relaxation dynamics from a quantum metastable state are investigated. Specifically, the quantum dynamics of a multilevel bistable system coupled to a bosonic Ohmic thermal bath in strong dissipation regime is analyzed. The study is performed by a non-perturbative method based on the real-time path integral approach of the Feynman-Vernon influence functional. We consider a strongly asymmetric double well potential with and without a monochromatic external driving, and with an out-of-equilibrium initial condition. In the absence of driving we observe a nonmonotonic behavior of the escape time from the metastable region, as a function both of the system-bath coupling coefficient and the temperature. This indicates a stabilizing effect of the quantum fluctuations. In the presence of driving our findings indicate that, as the coupling coefficient gamma increases, the escape time, initially controlled by the external driving, shows resonant peaks and dips, becoming frequency-independent for higher gamma values. Moreover, the escape time from the metastable state displays a nonmonotonic behavior as a function of the temperature, the frequency of the driving, and the thermal-bath coupling, which indicates the presence of a quantum noise enhanced stability phenomenon. Finally, we investigate the role of different spectral densities, both in sub-Ohmic and super-Ohmic dissipation regime and for different cutoff frequencies, on the relaxation dynamics from the quantum metastable state. The results obtained indicate that, in the crossover dynamical regime characterized by damped intrawell oscillations and incoherent tunneling, the spectral properties of the thermal bath influence non-trivially the short time behavior and the time scales of the relaxation dynamics from the metastable state.