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Current-constraining variational approaches to quantum transport

By P Bokes, H Mera and R W Godby


Presently, the main methods for describing a nonequilibrium charge-transporting steady state are based on time-evolving it from the initial zero-current situation. An alternative class of theories would give the statistical nonequilibrium density operator from principles of statistical mechanics, in a spirit close to Gibbs ensembles for equilibrium systems, leading to a variational principle for the nonequilibrium steady state. We discuss the existing attempts to achieve this using the maximum entropy principle based on constraining the average current. We show that the current-constrained theories result in a zero-induced drop in electrostatic potential, so that such ensembles cannot correspond to the time-evolved density matrix, unless left- and right-going scattering states are mutually incoherent

Year: 2005
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