Scaling behavior of interactions in a modular quantum system and the existence of local temperature

M. Hartmann, J. Gemmer, G. Mahler, O. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We consider a quantum system of fixed size consisting of a regular chain of n-level subsystems, where n is finite. Forming groups of N subsystems each, we show that the strength of interaction between the groups scales with N -1/2. As a consequence, if the total system is in a thermal state with inverse temperature β, a sufficient condition for subgroups of size N to be approximately in a thermal state with the same temperature is √N ≫ βδĒ, where δĒ is the width of the occupied level spectrum of the total system. These scaling properties indicate on what scale local temperatures may be meaningfully defined as intensive variables. This question is particularly relevant for non-equilibrium scenarios such as heat conduction, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
JournalEurophysics Letters
Volume65
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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