Macroscopic quantum tunneling in a dc SQUID: Instanton splitting

C. Morais Smith, B. Ivlev, G. Blatter
1994 Physical Review B (Condensed Matter)  
The theory of macroscopic quantum tunneling is applied to a current-biased dc SQUID which constitutes a system of two interacting quantum degrees of freedom coupled to the environment. The decay probability is obtained in the exponential approximation for the overdamped case. Close to the critical driving force of the system, the decay of the metastable state is determined by a unique instanton solution describing the symmetric decay of the phases in each of the two Josephson juctions. Upon
more » ... cing the external driving force a new regime is reached where the instanton splits. The doubling of the decay channels reduces the decreasing of the decay rate in the quantum regime. A current-temperature phase diagram is constructed based on the Landau theory of phase transitions. Depending on the external parameters the system develops either a first-or a second-order transition to the split-instanton regime.
doi:10.1103/physrevb.49.4033 pmid:10011301 fatcat:4xl3lvoozvblxb7eideh6blblu