How to discretize a quantum bath for real-time evolution?
Phys. Rev. B, 92 (15), 155126, (2015)
Many numerical techniques for the description of quantum systems that are coupled to a continuous bath require the discretization of the latter. To this end, a wealth of methods has been developed in the literature, which we classify as (i) direct discretization, (ii) orthogonal polynomial, and (iii) numerical optimization strategies. We recapitulate strategies (i) and (ii) to clarify their relation. For quadratic Hamiltonians, we show that (ii) is the best strategy in the sense that it gives the numerically exact time evolution up to a maximum time tmax, for which we give a simple expression. For non-quadratic Hamiltonians, we show that no such best strategy exists. We present numerical examples relevant to open quantum systems and strongly correlated systems, as treated by dynamical mean-field theory (DMFT).