Decoherence of highly mixed macroscopic quantum superpositions

Hyunseok Jeong, Jinhyoung Lee, Hyunchul Nha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


It is known that a macroscopic quantum superposition (MQS), when it is exposed to an environment, decoheres at a rate scaling with the separation of its component states in phase space. This is more or less consistent with the well-known proposition that a more macroscopic quantum state is reduced more quickly to a classical state in general. Effects of initial mixedness, however, on the subsequent decoherence of MQSs have been less known. We study the evolution of a highly mixed MQS interacting with an environment and compare it with that of a pure MQS having the same size as the central distance between its component states. Although the decoherence develops more rapidly for the mixed MQS in short times, its rate can be significantly suppressed after a certain time and becomes smaller than the decoherence rate of its corresponding pure MQS. In an optics experiment to generate a MQS, our result has the practical implication that nonclassicality of a MQS can still be observable in moderate times, even though a large amount of noise is added to the initial state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1030
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

Cite this