From reversible quantum microdynamics to irreversible quantum transport


Journal Article (Review)

The transition from reversible microdynamics to irreversible transport can be studied very efficiently and systematically with the help of the so-called projection method. After a concise introduction to that method we illustrate its power by using it to analyze the well-known rate and quantum Boltzmann equations, and we present, as a new application, the derivation of a source term which accounts for the spontaneous creation of electron-positron pairs in strong fields. Thereby we emphasize the pivotal role of time scales: Only if the various time scales exhibited by the dynamics are widely disparate can the evolution of the slower degrees of freedom be described by a conventional Markovian transport equation; otherwise one must account for finite memory effects. We show how the projection method can be employed to determine these time scales and how - if necessary - it allows one to include memory effects in a straightforward manner. There is also an appendix in which we discuss the concepts of entropy and macroscopic irreversibility.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rau, J; Müller, B

Published Date

  • January 1, 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 272 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 59

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0370-1573

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0370-1573(95)00077-1

Citation Source

  • Scopus