In this paper we study the nonequilibrium evolution of a quantum Brownian oscillator, modeling the internal degree of freedom of a harmonic atom or an Unruh–DeWitt detector, coupled to a nonequilibrium and nonstationary quantum field bath and inquire whether a fluctuation–dissipation relation (FDR) can exist after/if it approaches equilibration. This is a nontrivial issue because a squeezed field bath cannot reach equilibration and yet, as this work shows, the system oscillator indeed can, which is a necessary condition for FDRs. We discuss three different settings: (A) The bath field essentially remains in a squeezed thermal state throughout, whose squeeze parameter is a mode- and time-independent constant. This situation is often encountered in quantum optics and quantum thermodynamics. (B) The bath field is initially in a thermal state, but is subjected to a parametric process leading to mode- and time-dependent squeezing. This scenario is encountered in cosmology and dynamical Casimir effects. The squeezing in the bath in both types of processes will affect the oscillator's nonequilibrium evolution. We show that at late times it approaches equilibration and this stationarity condition warrants the existence of a FDR. The trait of squeezing is marked by the oscillator's effective equilibrium temperature, and the proportionality factor in the FDR is only related to the stationary component of the noise kernel of the bath field. Setting (C) is more subtle: A finite system–bath coupling strength can set the oscillator in a squeezed state even though the bath field is stationary and does not engage in any parametric process. The squeezing of the system in this case is in general time-dependent but becomes constant when the internal dynamics is fully relaxed. We begin with comments on the broad range of physical processes involving squeezed thermal baths and end with some remarks on the significance of FDRs in capturing the essence of quantum backreaction in nonequilibrium and stochastic systems.
- Fluctuation-dissipation relation
- Nonequilibrium field theory
- Parametric oscillator
- Squeezed thermal field
- Strongly interacting Gaussian system
- Time-dependent background