Brownian Motion of a Quantum Oscillator Academic Article uri icon


  • The theory of Brownian motion of a quantum oscillator is developed. The Brownian motion is described by a model Hamiltonian which is taken to be the one describing the interaction between this oscillator and a reservoir. Use is made of the master equation recently derived by the author, to obtain the equation of motion for the various reduced phase-space distribution functions that are obtained by mapping the density operator onto c-number functions. The equations of motion for the reduced phase-space distribution functions are found to be of the Fokker-Planck type. On transforming the Fokker-Planck equation to real variables, it is found to have the same form as the Fokker-Planck equation obtained by Wang and Uhlenbeck to describe the Brownian motion of a classical oscillator. The Fokker-Planck equation is solved for the conditional probability (Green's function) which is found to be in the form of a two-dimensional Gaussian distribution. This solution is then used to obtain various time-dependent quantum statistical properties of the oscillator. Next, the entropy for a quantum oscillator undergoing Brownian motion is calculated and we show that this system approaches equilibrium as t. Finally we show that in the weak-coupling limit the Fokker-Planck equation reduces to the one obtained by making the usual rotating-wave approximation. 1971 The American Physical Society.

published proceedings

  • Physical Review A

author list (cited authors)

  • Agarwal, G. S.

citation count

  • 181

complete list of authors

  • Agarwal, GS

publication date

  • August 1971