We introduce and apply a numerically exact method for investigating the real-time dissipative dynamics of quantum impurities embedded in a macroscopic environment beyond the weak-coupling limit. We focus on the spin-boson Hamiltonian that describes a two-level system interacting with a bosonic bath of harmonic oscillators. This model is archetypal for investigating dissipation in quantum systems, and tunable experimental realizations exist in mesoscopic and cold-atom systems. It finds abundant applications in physics ranging from the study of decoherence in quantum computing and quantum optics to extended dynamical mean-field theory. Starting from the real-time Feynman-Vernon path integral, we derive an exact stochastic Schrödinger equation that allows us to compute the full spin density matrix and spin-spin correlation functions beyond weak coupling. We greatly extend our earlier work by fleshing out the core concepts of the method and by presenting a number of interesting applications. Methodologically, we present an analogy between the dissipative dynamics of a quantum spin and that of a classical spin in a random magnetic field. This analogy is used to recover the well-known noninteracting-blip approximation in the weak-coupling limit. We explain in detail how to compute spin-spin autocorrelation functions. As interesting applications of our method, we explore the non-Markovian effects of the initial spin-bath preparation on the dynamics of the coherence σx(t) and of σz(t) under a Landau-Zener sweep of the bias field. We also compute to a high precision the asymptotic long-time dynamics of σz(t) without bias and demonstrate the wide applicability of our approach by calculating the spin dynamics at nonzero bias and different temperatures.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Jan 25 2013|