Evolution of open many-electron systems: from a quantum statistical description towards the semi-classical Boltzmann equation

Starting from the quantum statistical master equation derived in [1] we show how the connection to the semi-classical Boltzmann equation (SCBE) can be established and how irreversibility is related to the problem of separability of quantum mechanics. Our principle goal is to find a sound theoretical basis for the description of the evolution of an electron gas in the intermediate regime between pure classical behavior and pure quantum behavior. We investigate the evolution of one-particle properties in a weakly interacting N-electron system confined to a finite spatial region in a near-equilibrium situation that is weakly coupled to a statistical environment. The equations for the reduced n-particle density matrices, with n < N are hierarchically coupled through two-particle interactions. In order to elucidate the role of this type of coupling and of the inter-particle correlations generated by the interaction, we examine first the particular situation where energy transfer between the N-electron system and the statistical environment is negligible, but where the system has a finite memory. We then formulate the general master equation that describes the evolution of the coarse grained one-particle density matrix of an interacting confined electron gas including energy transfer with one or more bath subsystems, which is called the quantum Boltzmann equation (QBE). The connection with phase space is established by expressing the one-particle states in terms of the overcomplete basis of coherent states, which are localized in phase space. In this way we obtain the QBE in phase space. After performing an additional coarse-graining procedure in phase space, and assuming that the interaction of the electron gas and the bath subsystems is local in real space, we obtain the semi-classical Boltzmann equation. The validity range of the classical description, which introduces local dynamics in phase space is discussed.

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