Generalized multipolaron expansion for the spin-boson model: Environmental entanglement and the biased two-state system

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We develop a systematic variational coherent-state expansion for the many-body ground state of the spin-boson model, in which a quantum two-level system is coupled to a continuum of harmonic oscillators. Energetic constraints at the heart of this technique are rationalized in terms of polarons (displacements of the bath states in agreement with classical expectations) and antipolarons (counterdisplacements due to quantum tunneling effects). We present a comprehensive study of the ground-state two-level system population and coherence as a function of tunneling amplitude, dissipation strength, and bias (akin to asymmetry of the double-well potential defining the two-state system). The entanglement among the different environmental modes is investigated by looking at spectroscopic signatures of the bipartite entanglement entropy between a given environmental mode and all the other modes. We observe a drastic change in behavior of this entropy for increasing dissipation, indicative of the entangled nature of the environmental states. In addition, the entropy spreads over a large energy range at strong dissipation, a testimony to the wide entanglement window characterizing the underlying Kondo state. Finally, comparisons to accurate numerical renormalization-group calculations and to the exact Bethe ansatz solution of the model demonstrate the rapid convergence of our variationally optimized multipolaron expansion, suggesting that it should also be a useful tool for dissipative models of greater complexity, as relevant for numerous systems of interest in quantum physics and chemistry. © 2014 American Physical Society.





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Bera, S, A Nazir, AW Chin, HU Baranger and S Florens (2014). Generalized multipolaron expansion for the spin-boson model: Environmental entanglement and the biased two-state system. Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, 90(7). 10.1103/PhysRevB.90.075110 Retrieved from

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Harold U. Baranger

Professor of Physics

The broad focus of Prof. Baranger's group is quantum open systems at the nanoscale, particularly the generation of correlation between particles in such systems. Fundamental interest in nanophysics-- the physics of small, nanometer scale, bits of solid-- stems from the ability to control and probe systems on length scales larger than atoms but small enough that the averaging inherent in bulk properties has not yet occurred. Using this ability, entirely unanticipated phenomena can be uncovered on the one hand, and the microscopic basis of bulk phenomena can be probed on the other. Additional interest comes from the many links between nanophysics and nanotechnology. Within this thematic area, our work ranges from projects trying to nail down realistic behavior in well-characterized systems, to more speculative projects reaching beyond regimes investigated experimentally to date.

Correlations between particles are a central issue in many areas of condensed matter physics, from emergent many-body phenomena in complex materials, to strong matter-light interactions in quantum information contexts, to transport properties of single molecules. Such correlations, for either electrons or bosons (photons, plasmons, phonons,…), underlie key phenomena in nanostructures. Using the exquisite control of nanostructures now possible, experimentalists will be able to engineer correlations in nanosystems in the near future. Of particular interest are cases in which one can tune the competition between different types of correlation, or in which correlation can be tunably enhanced or suppressed by other effects (such as confinement or interference), potentially causing a quantum phase transition-- a sudden, qualitative change in the correlations in the system.

My recent work has addressed correlations in both electronic systems (quantum wires and dots) and photonic systems (photon waveguides). We have focused on 3 different systems: (1) qubits coupled to a photonic waveguide, (2) quantum dots in a dissipative environment, and (3) interfaces between graphene and a superconductor, particularly when graphene is in the quantum Hall state. The methods used are both analytical and numerical, and are closely linked to experiments.

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