Canonical form of master equations and characterization of non-Markovianity
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Master equations govern the time evolution of a quantum system interacting with an environment, and may be written in a variety of forms. Time-independent or memoryless master equations, in particular, can be cast in the well-known Lindblad form. Any time-local master equation, Markovian or non-Markovian, may in fact also be written in a Lindblad-like form. A diagonalization procedure results in a unique, and in this sense canonical, representation of the equation, which may be used to fully characterize the non-Markovianity of the time evolution. Recently, several different measures of non-Markovianity have been presented which reflect, to varying degrees, the appearance of negative decoherence rates in the Lindblad-like form of the master equation. We therefore propose using the negative decoherence rates themselves, as they appear in the canonical form of the master equation, to completely characterize non-Markovianity. The advantages of this are especially apparent when more than one decoherence channel is present. We show that a measure proposed by Rivas et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 050403 (2010)] is a surprisingly simple function of the canonical decoherence rates, and give an example of a master equation that is non-Markovian for all times t>0, but to which nearly all proposed measures are blind. We also give necessary and sufficient conditions for trace distance and volume measures to witness non-Markovianity, in terms of the Bloch damping matrix.
Physical Review A (Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics)
Copyright 2014 American Physical Society. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Quantum Physics not elsewhere classified
Quantum Information, Computation and Communication