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Abstract

Scattering theory is a standard tool for the description of transport phenomena in mesoscopic systems. Here, we provide a detailed derivation of this method for nano-scale conductors that are driven by oscillating electric or magnetic fields. Our approach is based on an extension of the conventional Lippmann–Schwinger formalism to systems with a periodically time-dependent Hamiltonian. As a key result, we obtain a systematic perturbation scheme for the Floquet scattering amplitudes that describes the transition of a transport carrier through a periodically driven sample. Within a general multi-terminal setup, we derive microscopic expressions for the mean values and time-integrated correlation functions, or zero-frequency noise, of matter and energy currents, thus recovering the results of earlier studies in a unifying framework. We show that this framework is inherently consistent with the first and the second law of thermodynamics and prove that the mean rate of entropy production vanishes only if all currents in the system are zero. As an application, we derive a generalized Green–Kubo relation, which makes it possible to express the response of any mean currents to small variations of temperature and chemical potential gradients in terms of time integrated correlation functions between properly chosen currents. Finally, we discuss potential topics for future studies and further reaching applications of the Floquet scattering approach to quantum transport in stochastic and quantum thermodynamics.

Abstract

According to the concept of typicality, an ensemble average can be accurately approximated by an expectation value with respect to a single pure state drawn at random from a high-dimensional Hilbert space. This random-vector approximation, or trace estimator, provides a powerful approach to, e.g. thermodynamic quantities for systems with large Hilbert-space sizes, which usually cannot be treated exactly, analytically or numerically. Here, we discuss the finite-size scaling of the accuracy of such trace estimators from two perspectives. First, we study the full probability distribution of random-vector expectation values and, second, the full temperature dependence of the standard deviation. With the help of numerical examples, we find pronounced Gaussian probability distributions and the expected decrease of the standard deviation with system size, at least above certain system-specific temperatures. Below and in particular for temperatures smaller than the excitation gap, simple rules are not available.

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Abstract

We investigate the motion of a classical spin processing around a periodic magnetic field using Floquet theory, as well as elementary differential geometry and considering a couple of examples. Under certain conditions, the role of spin and magnetic field can be interchanged, leading to the notion of “duality of loops” on the Bloch sphere.

Abstract

Evidently, some relaxation dynamics, e.g. exponential decays, are much more common in nature than others. Recently there have been attempts to explain this observation on the basis of “typicality of perturbations” with respect to their impact on expectation value dynamics. These theories suggest that a majority of the very numerous, possible Hamiltonian perturbations entail more or less the same type of alteration of the decay dynamics. Thus, in this paper, we study how the approach towards equilibrium in closed quantum systems is altered due to weak perturbations. To this end, we perform numerical experiments on a particular, exemplary spin system. We compare our numerical data to predictions from three particular theories. We find satisfying agreement in the weak perturbation regime for one of these approaches.

Abstract

In this paper, we have studied spinless fermions in four specific quasi one-dimensional systems that are known to host flat bands in the noninteracting limit: the triangle lattice, the stub lattice, the diamond lattice, and the diamond lattice with transverse hopping. The influence of the nearest neighbour interaction on the flat bands was investigated. We used exact diagonalization of finite size lattices employing the Lanczos technique and determine the single particle spectral functions of the interacting system. Our results are compared with mean field calculations. In the cases of the triangle lattice and the stub lattice we found that the flat bands become dispersive in the presence of a finite interaction. For the diamond lattice and the diamond lattice with transverse hopping, we demonstrated that the flat bands are robust under the influence of the interaction in certain parameter ranges. Such systems could be realised experimentally with cold atoms in optical lattices.

Abstract

Driven diffusive systems constitute paradigmatic models of nonequilibrium physics. Among them, a driven lattice gas known as the asymmetric simple exclusion process (ASEP) is the most prominent example for which many intriguing exact results have been obtained. After summarising key findings, including the mapping of the ASEP to quantum spin chains, we discuss the recently introduced Brownian ASEP (BASEP) as a related class of driven diffusive system with continuous space dynamics. In the BASEP, driven Brownian motion of hardcore-interacting particles through one-dimensional periodic potentials is considered. We study whether current–density relations of the BASEP can be considered as generic for arbitrary periodic potentials and whether repulsive particle interactions other than hardcore lead to similar results. Our findings suggest that shapes of current–density relations are generic for single-well periodic potentials and can always be attributed to the interplay of a barrier reduction, blocking, and exchange symmetry effect. This implies that in general up to five different phases of nonequilibrium steady states are possible for such potentials. The phases can occur in systems coupled to particle reservoirs, where the bulk density is the order parameter. For multiple-well periodic potentials, more complex current–density relations are possible, and more phases can appear. Taking a repulsive Yukawa potential as an example, we show that the effects of barrier reduction and blocking on the current are also present. The exchange symmetry effect requires hardcore interactions, and we demonstrate that it can still be identified when hardcore interactions are combined with weak Yukawa interactions. The robustness of the collective dynamics in the BASEP with respect to variations of model details can be a key feature for a successful observation of the predicted current–density relations in actual physical systems.

Abstract

Echo protocols provide a means to investigate the arrow of time in macroscopic processes. Starting from a nonequilibrium state, the many-body quantum system under study is evolved for a certain period of time τ. Thereafter, an (effective) time reversal is performed that would – if implemented perfectly – take the system back to the initial state after another time period τ. Typical examples are nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and polarisation echo experiments. The presence of small, uncontrolled inaccuracies during the backward propagation results in deviations of the “echo signal” from the original evolution and can be exploited to quantify the instability of nonequilibrium states and the irreversibility of the dynamics. We derive an analytic prediction for the typical dependence of this echo signal for macroscopic observables on the magnitude of the inaccuracies and on the duration τ of the process, and verify it in numerical examples.

Abstract

Exponential decay laws describe systems ranging from unstable nuclei to fluorescent molecules, in which the probability of jumping to a lower-energy state in any given time interval is static and history-independent. These decays, involving only a metastable state and fluctuations of the quantum vacuum, are the most fundamental nonequilibrium process and provide a microscopic model for the origins of irreversibility. Despite the fact that the apparently universal exponential decay law has been precisely tested in a variety of physical systems, it is a surprising truth that quantum mechanics requires that spontaneous decay processes have nonexponential time dependence at both very short and very long times. Cold-atom experiments have proven to be powerful probes of fundamental decay processes; in this article, we propose the use of Bose condensates in Floquet–Bloch bands as a probe of long-time nonexponential decay in single isolated emitters. We identify a range of parameters that should enable observation of long-time deviations and experimentally demonstrate a key element of the scheme: tunable decay between quasi-energy bands in a driven optical lattice.

Abstract

Loosely speaking, the concept of quantum typicality refers to the fact that a single pure state can imitate the full statistical ensemble. This fact has given rise to a rather simple but remarkably useful numerical approach to simulate the dynamics of quantum many-body systems, called dynamical quantum typicality (DQT). In this paper, we give a brief overview of selected applications of DQT, where particular emphasis is given to questions on transport and thermalization in low-dimensional lattice systems like chains or ladders of interacting spins or fermions. For these systems, we discuss that DQT provides an efficient means to obtain time-dependent equilibrium correlation functions for comparatively large Hilbert-space dimensions and long time scales, allowing the quantitative extraction of transport coefficients within the framework of, e. g., linear response theory (LRT). Furthermore, it is discussed that DQT can also be used to study the far-from-equilibrium dynamics resulting from sudden quench scenarios, where the initial state is a thermal Gibbs state of the pre-quench Hamiltonian. Eventually, we summarize a few combinations of DQT with other approaches such as numerical linked cluster expansions or projection operator techniques. In this way, we demonstrate the versatility of DQT.