, Volume 67, Issue 5-6, pp 323-330

Influence of dissipation on the prefactor in the expression of the decay rate of a metastable state

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Abstract

The influence of dissipation on the prefactor in the expression of the decay probability of a metastable state via macroscopic quantum tunneling is discussed. It is shown that under experimental conditions, because of the small number of levels in the well, such a correction is of paramount importance. Moreover, the full coincidence is shown between the expression of the decay probability derived from usual quantum mechanics and that obtained by the functional integral method in the limit of zero viscosity. The whole discussion, though of wide generality, is referred to a Josephson junction as a physical model, for which some conclusions of experimental interest are drawn.