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Maximum-entropy theory of steady-state quantum transport

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  • Physics


We develop a theoretical framework for describing steady-state quantum transport phenomena, based on the general maximum-entropy principle of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. The general form of the many-body density matrix is derived, which contains the invariant part of the current operator that guarantees the nonequilibrium and steady-state character of the ensemble. Several examples of the theory are given, demonstrating the relationship of the present treatment to the widely used scattering-state occupation schemes at the level of the self-consistent single-particle approximation. The latter schemes are shown not to maximize the entropy, except in certain limits.

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