An Intrinsic Limit to Quantum Coherence due to Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking

Jasper van Wezel, Jeroen van den Brink, Jan Zaanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigate the influence of spontaneous symmetry breaking on the decoherence of a many-particle quantum system. This decoherence process is analyzed in an exactly solvable model system that is known to be representative of symmetry broken macroscopic systems in equilibrium. It is shown that spontaneous symmetry breaking imposes a fundamental limit to the time that a system can stay quantum coherent. This universal time scale is tspon≃2πNℏ/(kBT), given in terms of the number of microscopic degrees of freedom N, temperature T, and the constants of Planck (ℏ) and Boltzmann (kB).
Original languageEnglish
Article number230401
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume94
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2005

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