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Decoherence, discord, and the quantum master equation for cosmological perturbations / Jamie, McDonald; Timothy, Hollowood

Physical Review D, Volume: 95, Issue: 10

Swansea University Authors: Jamie, McDonald, Timothy, Hollowood

Abstract

We examine environmental decoherence of cosmological perturbations in order to study the quantum-to-classical transition and the impact of noise on entanglement during inflation. Given an explicit interaction between the system and environment, we derive a quantum master equation for the reduced den...

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Published in: Physical Review D
ISSN: 2470-0010 2470-0029
Published: American Physical Society (APS) 2017
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa33006
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Abstract: We examine environmental decoherence of cosmological perturbations in order to study the quantum-to-classical transition and the impact of noise on entanglement during inflation. Given an explicit interaction between the system and environment, we derive a quantum master equation for the reduced density matrix of perturbations, drawing parallels with quantum Brownian motion, where we see the emergence of fluctuation and dissipation terms. Although the master equation is not in Lindblad form, we see how typical solutions exhibit positivity on super-horizon scales, leading to a physically meaningful density matrix. This allows us to write down a Langevin equation with stochastic noise for the classical trajectories which emerge from the quantum system on super-horizon scales. In particular, we find that environmental decoherence increases in strength as modes exit the horizon, with the growth driven essentially by white noise coming from local contribution to environmental correlations. Finally, we use our master equation to quantify the strength of quantum correlations as captured by discord. We show that environmental interactions have a tendency to decrease the size of the discord and that these effects are determined by the relative strength of the expansion rate and interaction rate of the environment. We interpret this in terms of the competing effects of particle creation versus environmental fluctuations, which tend to increase and decrease the discord respectively.
College: College of Science
Issue: 10