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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Non-equilibrium evolution of quantum systems connected to multiple baths Wu, Jinshan


In this thesis we develop a systematic formalism that allows the calculation of transport properties for small quantum systems coupled to multiple baths with different temperatures and/or chemical potentials. Our approach is based on a generalization of the projector operator technique, previously used to study the evolution towards equilibrium of systems weakly coupled to a single bath. Applying this technique to a system weakly coupled to multiple baths, we find a dynamical equation for the reduced density matrix of the system (the reduced density matrix is obtained by tracing out from the total density matrix the baths’ degrees of freedom). Integration of this dynamical equation gives the time evolution of the biased system. After a time interval long enough compared to the characteristic time-scales of the problem, the system arrives to a non-equilibrium steady-state. The density matrix in this non-equilibrium steady state can also be calculated directly, avoiding the time-integration of the dynamical equation. In the second part of the thesis we study non-equilibrium steady states and heat transport through short spin chains coupled to two thermal baths with different temperature. Two new definitions for the local temperature in nonequilibrium are proposed, based on local spin and energy at different sites. The definition based on the local energy seems to be more reliable. We find that for small biases, the heat and spin currents increase proportionally to the bias, however non-linear behavior is observed for large biases. The temperature profile of the chain depends strongly on the parameters of the system.

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