The density matrix in the non-Hermitian approach to open quantum system dynamics

Alessandro Sergi


In this paper we review an approach to the dynamics of open quantum systems based of non-Hermitian Hamiltonians. Non-Hermitian Hamiltonians arise naturally when one wish to study a subsystem interacting with a continuum of states. Moreover, quantum subsystems with probability sinks or sources are naturally described by non-Hermitian Hamiltonians. Herein, we discuss a non-Hermitian formalism based on the density matrix. We show both how to derive the equations of motion of the density matrix and how to define statistical averages properly. It turns out that the laws of evolution of the normalized density matrix are intrinsically non-linear. We also show how to define correlation functions and a non-Hermitian entropy with a non zero production rate. The formalism has been generalized to the case of hybrid quantum-classical systems using a partial Wigner representation. The equations of motion and the statistical averages are defined analogously to the pure quantum case. However, the definition of the entropy requires to introduce a non-Hermitian linear entropy functional.


Non-Hermitian Quantum Mechanics; Density Matrix; Quantum-classical systems; Entropy

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Copyright (c) 2019 Alessandro Sergi

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