We investigate the longstanding problem of thermalization of quantum systems coupled to an environment by focusing on a bistable quartic oscillator interacting with a finite number of harmonic oscillators. In order to overcome the exponential wall that one usually encounters in grid-based approaches to solve the time-dependent Schrödinger equation of the extended system, methods based on the time-dependent variational principle are best suited. Here we will apply the method of coupled coherent states [D. V. Shalashilin and M. S. Child, J. Chem. Phys. 113, 10028 (2000)0021-960610.1063/1.1322075]. By investigating the dynamics of an initial wave function on top of the barrier of the double well, it will be shown that only a handful of oscillators with suitably chosen frequencies, starting in their ground states, is enough to drive the bistable system close to its uncoupled ground state. The long-time average of the double-well energy is found to be a monotonously decaying function of the number of environmental oscillators in the parameter range that was numerically accessible.
|Fachzeitschrift||Physical Review A|
|Publikationsstatus||Veröffentlicht - 2 Feb. 2022|