Non-Markovianity and Strong Coupling Effects in Thermodynamics

640. WE-Heraeus-Seminar

10 Apr - 13 Apr 2017


Physikzentrum Bad Honnef

Scientific organizers:

Dr. G. Schaller, Dr. J. Cerrillo, Dr. P. Strasberg, TU Berlin

The recent years have seen an enormous progress in the study of the dynamics of open (quantum) systems in two different directions:

On the one hand, for systems weakly coupled to ideal (large and memoryless) thermal reservoirs, it was possible to establish a consistent thermodynamic framework, which holds arbitrarily far from equilibrium and which is valid even at the level of individual fluctuating trajectories. This framework allows us, e.g., to extract valuable equilibrium information out of non-equilibrium fluctuations or to study the performance of biomolecular machines or artificial nanoscale heat engines.

On the other hand, most open (quantum) systems of interest are not coupled weakly to a memoryless reservoir and there has been a lot of progress in the dynamical description and understanding of them. This includes, e.g., completely new or improved traditional methods to describe such systems, efficient numerical algorithms for simulating them, or a precise characterization and mathematical definition of non-Markovian (quantum) dynamics.

Goal of the workshop

The goal of the workshop is to bring together experts from both communities in order to explore how thermodynamic and other fundamental laws govern the behaviour of small scale systems beyond the weak-coupling and Markovian approximation. This requires us to investigate questions of fundamental interest, but is also of vital practical interest in a world of growing power demand and increased (nano-) technological abilities.

More specifically, the workshop tries to address (but is not limited to) the following questions:

  • A precise definition of strong coupling and non-Markovianity for open (quantum) systems.
  • A meaningful definition of fundamental thermodynamic quantities (heat, work, internal energy, entropy, etc.) in the strong coupling and non-Markovian regime.
  • Efficient theoretical methods to compute the (thermo) dynamics of open (quantum) systems.
  • Finding and formulating the laws of thermodynamics as well as additional constraints beyond them.
  • Extending the "average" framework to single, fluctuating trajectories in view of (quantum) stochastic thermodynamics.
  • Presenting and analysing particular systems suitable for experimental implementation.