Disorder-induced quantum-to-classical transition, or how the world becomes classical
Matériaux et Phénomènes Quantiques, Unité mixte 7162 CNRS & Université de Paris (Denis Diderot), case 7021, 5 rue Thomas Mann, 75205 Paris Cedex 13, France
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online: 28 April 2022
Decoherence theory explains how quantum mechanics gives rise to classical mechanics through the entanglement of a quantum system’s evolution with the degrees of freedom of the environment. The present article explores another pathway from the quantum to the classical behaviour. We consider a spinless particle interacting with a disordered landscape of potential energy. The matterwave evolution is handled within time-dependent quantum statistical mechanics, in which the wave function is replaced by a Wigner function defined in position-momentum space. Upon zooming out to scales exceeding the correlation length of the disorder, it is found that the description only involves the state populations as defined in classical statistical physics. Quantum coherence effects are significant only over smaller spatial scales, where they give rise to a noise superimposing on the classical description. The waning of coherence, which reflects the emergence of classicality, is due to the multiple scattering of matter waves; and the framework may be viewed as a stochastic wave mechanics.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2022
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