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Unstable systems and quantum Zeno phenomena in quantum field theory

Abstract

We analyze the Zeno phenomenon in quantum field theory. The decay of an unstable system can be modified by changing the time interval between successive measurements (or by varying the coupling to an external system that plays the role of measuring apparatus). We speak of quantum Zeno effect if the decay is slowed and of inverse quantum Zeno (or Heraclitus) effect if it is accelerated. The analysis of the transition between these two regimes requires close scrutiny of the features of the interaction Hamiltonian. We look in detail at quantum field theoretical models of the Lee type.Comment: 25 pages, 6 figure

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