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Effective field theories for non-equilibrium many-body systems

Project description

New theoretical approach to modelling off-equilibrium systems

Non-equilibrium phenomena challenge our understanding of many-body systems. Until now, systems far from thermal equilibrium could not be analysed with a framework that accounts for stochastic thermal noise. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the NonEqbSK project plans to investigate fluid systems far from equilibrium using the Schwinger-Keldysh framework. The new framework offers a systematic understanding of thermal fluctuations and dissipation and is suitable for constructing models describing non-equilibrium phenomena in many-body systems. Project results will have far-reaching implications for high-energy physics and condensed matter physics, especially concerning the hunt for the quantum chromodynamics critical point at heavy-ion colliders, modelling of living systems and the development of biophysical membranes.

Objective

Non-equilibrium phenomena continue to challenge our understanding of many-body systems appearing in nature. Macroscopic processes are generally irreversible due to dissipation. Reconciling this irreversibility with the unitarity of quantum mechanics has been one of the long-standing puzzles in physics. To date, we lack a systematic framework to account for stochastic thermal noise in many-body dynamics that becomes increasingly important as we leave equilibrium. The situation is particularly dire in systems that naturally operate far from equilibrium, such as fluids near a critical point, actively driven fluids, or fluids fluctuating in a confined volume, as the validity of existing models is limited.

The goal of this proposal is to investigate these systems in the context of the newly developed Schwinger-Keldysh framework for non-equilibrium effective field theories. The new framework offers a systematic understanding of thermal fluctuations and dissipation starting from an action principle, and is suitable for constructing models describing non-equilibrium phenomena in many-body systems. During this fellowship, I will develop effective field theories specialised to the non-equilibrium systems mentioned above, and investigate their repercussions for observed phenomena. These results will have far-reaching impact in the fields of high-energy physics and condensed matter physics, especially concerning the hunt for the QCD critical point at heavy-ion colliders, modelling of living systems in biophysics, and biophysical membranes. This work will also provide insights into the broader physical problems such as the emergence of dissipation from microscopic principles and the quantum nature of gravity via the AdS/CFT correspondence.

The increased visibility that I will gain in the scientific community due to these results, along with the training and experience I will obtain during this fellowship, will help me establish myself as an independent scientist in the future.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM
Net EU contribution
€ 175 572,48
Address
Spui 21
1012WX Amsterdam
Netherlands

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Region
West-Nederland Noord-Holland Groot-Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00