, Volume 8, Issue 8, pp 1539-1593,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 22 Nov 2007

Theory of Non-Equilibrium Stationary States as a Theory of Resonances


We study a small quantum system (e.g., a simplified model for an atom or molecule) interacting with two bosonic or fermionic reservoirs (say, photon or phonon fields). We show that the combined system has a family of stationary states parametrized by two numbers, T 1 and T 2 (‘reservoir temperatures’). If T 1T 2, then these states are non-equilibrium stationary states (NESS). In the latter case we show that they have nonvanishing heat fluxes and positive entropy production and are dynamically asymptotically stable. The latter means that the evolution with an initial condition, normal with respect to any state where the reservoirs are in equilibria at temperatures T 1 and T 2, converges to the corresponding NESS. Our results are valid for the temperatures satisfying the bound min (T 1,T 2) > g 2 + α, where g is the coupling constant and 0 < α < 1 is a power related to the infra-red behaviour of the coupling functions.

Communicated by Vincent Rivasseau.
Submitted: March 20, 2006. Revised: March 19, 2007. Accepted: May 11, 2007.
Marco Merkli: Partly supported by an NSERC PDF, the Institute of Theoretical Physics of ETH Zürich, Switzerland, the Departments of Mathematics of McGill University and the University of Toronto, Canada.
Matthias Mück: Supported by DAAD under grant HSP III.
Israel Michael Sigal: Supported by NSERC under grant NA7901.