Quantum master equation for the microcanonical ensemble

Massimiliano Esposito, Pierre Gaspard
2007 Physical Review E  
By using projection superoperators, we present a new derivation of the quantum master equation first obtained by the Authors in Phys. Rev. E 68, 066112 (2003). We show that this equation describes the dynamics of a subsystem weakly interacting with an environment of finite heat capacity and initially described by a microcanonical distribution. After applying the rotating wave approximation to the equation, we show that the subsystem dynamics preserves the energy of the total system (subsystem
more » ... us environment) and tends towards an equilibrium state which corresponds to equipartition inside the energy shell of the total system. For infinite heat capacity environments, this equation reduces to the Redfield master equation for a subsystem interacting with a thermostat. These results should be of particular interest to describe relaxation and decoherence in nanosystems where the environment can have a finite number of degrees of freedom and the equivalence between the microcanonical and the canonical ensembles is thus not always guaranteed.
doi:10.1103/physreve.76.041134 pmid:17994963 fatcat:a5rz7kpjdffx7l3w4abz2zrlti