The prototypical Schrödinger cat state, i.e., an initial state corresponding to two widely separated Gaussian wave packets, is considered. The decoherence time is calculated solely within the framework of elementary quantum mechanics and equilibrium statistical mechanics. This is at variance with common lore that irreversible coupling to a dissipative environment is the mechanism of decoherence. Here, we show that, on the contrary, decoherence can in fact occur at high temperature even for vanishingly small dissipation. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Physics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics
Ford, G., & O'Connell, R. (2001). Decoherence without dissipation. Physics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics, 286 (2-3), 87-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0375-9601(01)00419-4