Stephane Attal, Yan Pautrat
From repeated to continuous quantum interactions
(114K, TeX)
ABSTRACT. We consider the general physical situation of a quantum system $\H_0$
interacting with a chain of exterior systems $\bigotimes_\N \H$, one after the other, during a small interval of time $h$ and following some Hamiltonian $H$ on $\H_0 \otimes \H$. We discuss the passage to the limit to continuous interactions ($h \rightarrow 0$) in a setup which allows to compute the limit of this Hamiltonian evolution in a single state space: a continuous field of exterior systems $\otimes_{\R} \H$. Surprisingly, the passage to the limit shows the necessity for 3 different time scales in $H$. The limit evolution equation is shown to spontaneously produce quantum noises terms: we obtain a quantum Langevin equation as limit of the Hamiltonian evolution. For the very first time, these quantum Langevin equations are obtained as the effective limit from repeated to continuous interactions and not only as a model. These
results justify the usual quantum Langevin equations considered in continual quantum measurement or in quantum optics. We show that the three time scales correspond to the normal regime, the weak coupling limit and the low density limit. Our approach allows to consider these two physical limits altogether for the first time. Their combination produces an effective Hamiltonian on the small system, which had never been described before. We apply these results to give an Hamiltonian description of the von Neumann measurement. We also consider the approximation of continuous time quantum master equations by discrete time ones. In particular we show how any Lindblad generator is obtained as the limit of completely positive maps.