14-26 J.-B. Bru, W. de Siqueira Pedra
Microscopic Foundations of Ohm and Joule's Laws - The Relevance of Thermodynamics (143K, pdf) Apr 16, 14
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Abstract. We give a brief historical account on microscopic explanations of electrical conduction. One aim of this short review is to show that Thermodynamics is fundamental to the theoretical understanding of the phenomenon. We discuss how the 2nd law, implemented in the scope of Quantum Statistical Mechanics, can be naturally used to give mathematical sense to conductivity of very general quantum many-body models. This is reminiscent of original ideas of J.P. Joule. We start with Ohm and Joule's discoveries and proceed by describing the Drude model of conductivity. The impact of Quantum Mechanics and the Anderson model are also discussed. The exposition is closed with the presentation of our approach to electrical conductivity based on the 2nd law of thermodynamics as passivity of systems at thermal equilibrium. It led to new rigorous results on linear conductivity of interacting fermions. One example is the existence of so-called AC-conductivity measures for such a physical system. These measures are, moreover, Fourier transforms of time correlations of current fluctuations in the system. I.e., the conductivity satis es, for a large class of quantum mechanical microscopic models, Green-Kubo relations.

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