Diagonalization of System plus Environment Hamiltonians
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A new approach to dissipative quantum systems modeled by a system plus environment Hamiltonian is presented. Using a continuous sequence of infinitesimal unitary transformations, the small quantum system is decoupled from its thermodynamically large environment. Dissipation enters through the observation that system observables generically “decay” completely into a different structure when the Hamiltonian is transformed into diagonal form. The method is particularly suited for studying low-temperature properties. This is demonstrated explicitly for the super-Ohmic spin-boson model.
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