Accuracy of second order perturbation theory in the polaron and variational polaron frames
Lee, Chee Kong
Date of Issue2012
School of Materials Science and Engineering
In the study of open quantum systems, the polaron transformation has recently attracted a renewed interest as it offers the possibility to explore the strong system-bath coupling regime. Despite this interest, a clear and unambiguous analysis of the regimes of validity of the polaron transformation is still lacking. Here we provide such a benchmark, comparing second order perturbation theory results in the original untransformed frame, the polaron frame, and the variational extension with numerically exact path integral calculations of the equilibrium reduced density matrix. Equilibrium quantities allow a direct comparison of the three methods without invoking any further approximations as is usually required in deriving master equations. It is found that the second order results in the original frame are accurate for weak system-bath coupling; the results deteriorate when the bath cut-off frequency decreases. The full polaron results are accurate for the entire range of coupling for a fast bath but only in the strong coupling regime for a slow bath. The variational method is capable of interpolating between these two methods and is valid over a much broader range of parameters.
The journal of chemical physics
© 2012 American Institute of Physics. This paper was published in The Journal of Chemical Physics and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Institute of Physics. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4722336]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.