Open Quantum Electrodynamics
In quantum electrodynamics, the matter degrees of freedom are coupled to the radiation field through a local, gauge-invariant interaction density. Due to the linear structure of this coupling, the problem of constructing a complete formal representation of the reduced matter dynamics can be solved exactly if the electromagnetic radiation field is initially in a Gaussian state. This chapter combines field theoretical methods with superoperator and influence functional techniques to derive an exact, relativistic representation for the reduced density matrix of the matter degrees of freedom which completely describes the influence of the electromagnetic radiation field on the matter dynamics. Several applications are treated, such as the suppression of the quantum coherence of charged particles caused by the emission of bremsstrahlung and the decoherence of many-particle states.
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