Project Details

Description

TECHNICAL SUMMARY This award supports theoretical research and education on dynamics of strongly correlated nanostructures out of equilibrium. The project will contribute to our understanding of how to describe interacting quantum systems carrying currents imposed by leads kept at different chemical potentials or temperatures, a subject of fundamental importance for theory and experiment with significant practical applications. The research combines several topical areas: the study of strongly correlated electron systems which seeks to understand new collective phenomena brought about by interactions; the study of nanostructures involving problems of transport and spectral properties analyzed in restricted geometries with emphasis on the interplay between disorder and interactions; nonequilibrium thermodynamics in many-body quantum systems. All these areas provide essential components in the study of the dynamics in nanoscale devices. Advances in fabrication have made nanodevices accessible to experiment. So, fundamental issues of nonequilibrium physics can be tested experimentally with a high degree of precision. This requires detailed theoretical predictions that the PI aims to provide. The theoretical approach to be pursued is based on scattering theory with the scattering eigenstates constructed via the Bethe Ansatz. The eigenstates are defined on the open infinite line with boundary conditions set by the bias voltage or temperature drop imposed by the leads. One obtains explicit predictions for non-equilibrium properties, such as charge and heat currents, entropy production and dissipation, as well as for quantities central in mesoscopics such as decoherence times and relaxation rates. All of these quantities can be experimentally tested. The PI will apply this approach to concrete models of nonequilibrium systems, including: the two leads Anderson model to model a quantum dot, the two leads Holstein model to model molecules in break junctions, and the two leads AB interferometer. The PI aims to develop precise predictions that can be compared with experiment and may lead to new insights about steady-state behaviors. This project contributes to the education of postdocs and student researchers in learning advanced theoretical techniques and their application to concrete experimental systems. The PI is also currently writing a book on nonperturbative approaches to quantum impurity systems. NONTECHNICAL SUMMARY This award supports theoretical research and education on dynamics of electrons which interact strongly with each other in systems of atoms that are some ten to hundred times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The PI will focus on situations where the electrons in these nanostructures are not in the balanced and tranquil state of equilibrium. Rather, the PI will investigate situations where the electrons are far from equilibrium as might happen when a voltage is applied across a nanostructure forcing the electrons to move. Systems far from equilibrium are not well understood. The correlated motion of electrons that results from their strong interaction provides additional complexity, but is an important ingredient to include in order to develop the theoretical and conceptual tools that enable the modeling and design of the necessarily quantum mechanical electronic devices that may be developed on the nanoscale. Postdocs and student researchers will be involved in the research, which will contribute to their education in advanced theoretical techniques and the application of these techniques to materials and systems at the blurry interface of materials and devices on the nanoscale.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date10/1/109/30/12

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

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