Mathematical models of Markovian dephasing

Franco Fagnola, John Gough, Hendra I. Nurdin, Lorenza Viola

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We develop a notion of dephasing under the action of a quantum Markov semigroup in terms of convergence of operators to a block-diagonal form determined by irreducible invariant subspaces. If the latter are all one-dimensional, we say the dephasing is maximal. With this definition, we show that a key necessary requirement on the Lindblad generator is bistochasticity, and focus on characterizing whether a maximally dephasing evolution may be described in terms of a unitary dilation with only classical noise, as opposed to a genuine non-commutative Hudson–Parthasarathy dilation. To this end, we make use of a seminal result of Kümmerer and Maassen on the class of commutative dilations of quantum Markov semigroups. In particular, we introduce an intrinsic quantity constructed from the generator, the Hamiltonian obstruction, which vanishes if and only if the latter admits a self-adjoint representation and quantifies the hindrance to having a classical diffusive noise model
Original languageEnglish
Article number385301
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number38
Early online date06 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2019


  • decoherence
  • quantum Markov semigroups
  • quantum stochastic calculus
  • open quantum systems
  • quantum Markov semigroup


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