Title:

Orthogonal polynomials and open quantum systems

This thesis is concerned with the study of quantum systems coupled linearly to a continuous bath of oscillators examples of which are the spinboson model and the Nelson model. The main theme throughout is to develop a better understanding of the properties of the bath of oscillators such that more efficient representations of it can be made to facilitate the understanding of the system dynamics. The main difficulty in simulating the system dynamics is that the bath of oscillators composes an infinite number of degrees of freedom. In this thesis, we investigate the mathematical properties of an approach in which the bath modes are written as a semiinfinite chain of nearest neighbour interacting harmonic oscillators such that the efficient time dependent densitymatrix renormalisation group (tDMRG) methods can be applied for simulation. In the first section, we show how there are many different ways to represent the bath as semiinfinite chains and prove that seemingly unrelated methods can all be achieved using the same mathematical formalism. We show that in an iterative process the bath can be transformed into a chain of oscillators with nearest neighbour interactions. This is achieved using the formalism of orthogonal polynomials. This allows one to define a sequence of residual spectral densities at each site along the chain. We show that this sequence of residual spectral densities is provided by the socalled ”sequence of secondary measures”. We derive a systematic procedure to obtain the spectral density of the residual bath in each step. We find that these residual spectral densities are related to an old abstract problem in mathematics known as the ”secondary measures”. We solve this problem from the field of orthogonal polynomials to give an explicit expression for the residual spectral densities and go on to prove that these functions converge under very general conditions. That is, the asymptotic part of the chain is universal, translation invariant with universal spectral density. These results suggest efficient methods for handling the numerical treatment of the residual bath. In the second section, we take a different approach. Rather than studying the properties of residual baths, we look at how system observables are affected by truncating the semiinfinite chain of harmonic oscillators to a finite length chain. By developing locality bounds for the dynamics, we derive an upper bound to the error introduced by such a truncation and show that for all finite times it can be made arbitrarily small by including a sufficient number of harmonic oscillators 3 before truncating. Furthermore, it is shown that the speed at which the system communicates with different harmonic oscillators in the chain is proportional to the maximum frequency of the environment but that this speed also depends on the particular version of the chain. These bounds are given for when the dynamics are calculated in the Interaction picture and in the Schrodinger picture.
