Microscopic description for the emergence of collective dissipation in extended quantum systems

Galve, Fernando; Mandarino, Antonio; Paris, Matteo G. A; Benedetti, Claudia; Zambrini, Roberta
Scientific Reports 7, 42050 (1-10) (2017)

Practical implementations of quantum technology are limited by unavoidable effects of decoherence and dissipation. With achieved experimental control for individual atoms and photons, more complex platforms composed by several units can be assembled enabling distinctive forms of dissipation and decoherence, in independent heat baths or collectively into a common bath, with dramatic consequences for the preservation of quantum coherence. The cross-over between these two regimes has been widely attributed in the literature to the system units being farther apart than the bath's correlation length. Starting from a microscopic model of a structured environment (a crystal) sensed by two bosonic probes, here we show the failure of such conceptual relation, and identify the exact physical mechanism underlying this cross-over, displaying a sharp contrast between dephasing and dissipative baths. Depending on the frequency of the system and, crucially, on its orientation with respect to the crystal axes, collective dissipation becomes possible for very large distances between probes, opening new avenues to deal with decoherence in phononic baths.

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