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Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics


Department of Physics and Astronomy


Thermalization of a system in the presence of a heat bath has been the subject of many theoretical investigations especially in the framework of solid-state physics. In this setting, the presence of a large bandwidth for the frequency distribution of the harmonic oscillators schematizing the heat bath is crucial, as emphasized in the Caldeira-Leggett model. By contrast, ultracold gases in atomic traps oscillate at well-defined frequencies and therefore seem to lie outside the Caldeira-Leggett paradigm. We introduce interaction Hamiltonians which allow us to adapt the model to an atomic physics framework. The intrinsic nonlinearity of these models differentiates them from the original Caldeira-Leggett model and calls for a nontrivial stability analysis to determine effective ranges for the model parameters. These models allow for molecular-dynamics simulations of mixtures of ultracold gases, which is of current relevance for optimizing sympathetic cooling in degenerate Bose-Fermi mixtures.