Infoscience

Journal article

Quantum Brownian Motion at Strong Dissipation Probed by Superconducting Tunnel Junctions

We have investigated the phase dynamics of a superconducting tunnel junction at ultralow temperatures in the presence of high damping, where the interaction with environmental degrees of freedom represents the leading energy scale. In this regime, theory predicts the dynamics to follow a generalization of the classical Smoluchowski description, the quantum Smoluchowski equation, thus, exhibiting overdamped quantum Brownian motion characteristics. For this purpose, we have performed current-biased measurements on the small-capacitance Josephson junction of a scanning tunneling microscope placed in a low impedance environment at milli-Kelvin temperatures. We can describe our experimental findings with high accuracy by using a quantum phase diffusion model based on the quantum Smoluchowski equation. In this way we experimentally demonstrate that overdamped quantum systems follow quasiclassical dynamics with significant quantum effects as the leading corrections.

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