Category Archives: dynamic phase transitions

Coupled activity-current fluctuations in open quantum systems under strong symmetries

D. Manzano, M.A. Martínez-García, P.I. Hurtado

Strong symmetries in open quantum systems lead to broken ergodicity and the emergence of multiple degenerate steady states. From a quantum jump (trajectory) perspective, the appearance of multiple steady states is related to underlying dynamical phase transitions (DPTs) at the fluctuating level, leading to a dynamical coexistence of different transport channels classified by symmetry. In this paper, we investigate how strong symmetries affect both the transport properties and the activity patterns of a particular class of Markovian open quantum system, a three-qubit model under the action of a magnetic field and in contact with a thermal bath. We find a pair of twin DPTs in exciton current statistics, induced by the strong symmetry and related by time reversibility, where a zero-current exchange-antisymmetric phase coexists with a symmetric phase of negative exciton current. On the other hand, the activity statistics exhibits a single DPT where the symmetric and antisymmetric phases of different but nonzero activities dynamically coexists. The presence of a strong symmetry under non-equilibrium conditions implies non-analyticities in the dynamical free energy in the dual activity-current plane, including an activity-driven current lockdown phase for activities below some critical threshold. Finally, we also study the effect of a symmetry-breaking, ergodicity-restoring dephasing channel on the coupled activity-current statistics for this model. Interestingly, we observe that while this dephasing noise destroys the symmetry-induced DPTs, the underlying topological symmetry leaves a dynamical fingerprint in the form of intermittent, bursty on/off dynamics between the different symmetry sectors.

New J. Phys. 23, 073044 (2021); arXiv:2104.13176

Building continuous time crystals from rare events

R. Hurtado-Gutiérrez, F. Carollo, C. Pérez-Espigares, P. I. Hurtado

Symmetry-breaking dynamical phase transitions (DPTs) abound in the fluctuations of nonequilibrium systems. Here we show that the spectral features of a particular class of DPTs exhibit the fingerprints of the recently discovered time-crystal phase of matter. Using Doob’s transform as a tool, we provide a mechanism to build classical time-crystal generators from the rare event statistics of some driven diffusive systems. An analysis of the Doob’s smart field in terms of the order parameter of the transition then leads to the time-crystal lattice gas (tcLG), a model of driven fluid subject to an external packing field which presents a clear-cut steady-state phase transition to a time-crystalline phase characterized by a matter density wave which breaks continuous time-translation symmetry and displays rigidity and long-range spatio-temporal order, as required for a time crystal. A hydrodynamic analysis of the tcLG transition uncovers striking similarities, but also key differences, with the Kuramoto synchronization transition. Possible experimental realizations of the tcLG in colloidal fluids are also discussed.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 160601 (2020); arXiv:1912.02733

Sampling rare events across dynamical phase transitions

C. Pérez-Espigares, P. I. Hurtado

Interacting particle systems with many degrees of freedom may undergo phase transitions to sustain atypical fluctuations of dynamical observables such as the current or the activity. This leads in some cases to symmetry-broken space-time trajectories which enhance the probability of such events due to the emergence of ordered structures. Despite their conceptual and practical importance, these dynamical phase transitions (DPTs) at the trajectory level are difficult to characterize due to the low probability of their occurrence. However, during the last decade advanced computational techniques have been developed to measure rare events in simulations of many-particle systems that allow for the first time the direct observation and characterization of these DPTs. Here we review the application of a particular rare-event simulation technique, based on cloning Monte Carlo methods, to characterize DPTs in paradigmatic stochastic lattice gases. In particular, we describe in detail some tricks and tips of the trade, paying special attention to the measurement of order parameters capturing the physics of the different DPTs, as well as to the finite-size effects (both in the system size and number of clones) that affect the measurements. Overall, we provide a consistent picture of the phenomenology associated with DPTs and their measurement.

Chaos 29, 083106 (2019); arXiv:1902.01276

Infinite family of universal profiles for heat current statistics in Fourier’s law

P. L. Garrido, P. I. Hurtado, N. Tizón-Escamilla

Using tools from large deviation theory, we study fluctuations of the heat current in a model of d-dimensional incompressible fluid driven out of equilibrium by a temperature gradient. We find that the most probable temperature fields sustaining atypical values of the global current can be naturally classified in an infinite set of curves, allowing us to exhaustively analyze their topological properties and to define universal profiles onto which all optimal fields collapse. We also compute the statistics of empirical heat current, where we find remarkable logarithmic tails for large current fluctuations orthogonal to the thermal gradient. Finally, we determine explicitly a number of cumulants of the current distribution, finding remarkable relations between them.

Phys. Rev. E 99, 022134 (2019); arXiv:1810.10778

Quantum systems in and out of equilibrium: Fundamentals, dynamics and applications

P.L. Garrido, P.I. Hurtado, D. Manzano, F. de los Santos

The special issue of European Physical Journal Special Topics has been finally published. It originated at the 14th Granada Seminar on Quantum Systems in and out of equilibrium: Fundamentals, dynamics and applications, which took place in 2017, from June 20 to June 23 in Granada, Spain. This edition was sponsored by the University of Granada through the Department of Electromagnetism and Physics of the Matter and the Faculty of Sciences, the Spanish Minister of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, and the European Physical Society. There were in this edition a total of 57 lectures and 27 poster contributions covering quantum aspects of thermalization, quantum transport, quantum effects in condensed matter, biology, quantum computation, open quantum systems, quantum fluctuations and large deviations, and quantum thermodynamics.

Eur. Phys. J Special Topics 227, 201 (2018)

Dynamical criticality in driven systems: non-perturbative physics, microscopic origin and direct observation

C. Pérez-Espigares, F. Carollo, J.P. Garrahan, P.I. Hurtado

Driven diffusive systems may undergo phase transitions to sustain atypical values of the current. This leads in some cases to symmetry-broken space-time trajectories which enhance the probability of such fluctuations. Here we shed light on both the macroscopic large deviation properties and the microscopic origin of such spontaneous symmetry breaking in the weakly asymmetric exclusion process. By studying the joint fluctuations of the current and a collective order parameter, we uncover the full dynamical phase diagram for arbitrary boundary driving, which is reminiscent of a ℤ2 symmetry-breaking transition. The associated joint large deviation function becomes non-convex below the critical point, where a Maxwell-like violation of the additivity principle is observed. At the microscopic level, the dynamical phase transition is linked to an emerging degeneracy of the ground state of the microscopic generator, from which the optimal trajectories in the symmetry-broken phase follow. In addition, we observe this new symmetry-breaking phenomenon in extensive rare-event simulations of the microscopic dynamics.

Phys. Rev. E 98, 060102(R) (2018); arXiv:1807.10235

Harnessing symmetry to control quantum transport

D. Manzano and P.I. Hurtado

Controlling transport in quantum systems holds the key to many promising quantum technologies. Here we review the power of symmetry as a resource to manipulate quantum transport, and apply these ideas to engineer novel quantum devices. Using tools from open quantum systems and large deviation theory, we show that symmetry-mediated control of transport is enabled by a pair of twin dynamic phase transitions in current statistics, accompanied by a coexistence of different transport channels. By playing with the symmetry decomposition of the initial state, one can modulate the importance of the different transport channels and hence control the flowing current. Motivated by the problem of energy harvesting we illustrate these ideas in open quantum networks, an analysis which leads to the design of a symmetry-controlled quantum thermal switch. We review an experimental setup recently proposed for symmetry-mediated quantum control in the lab based on a linear array of atom-doped optical cavities, and the possibility of using transport as a probe to uncover hidden symmetries, as recently demonstrated in molecular junctions, is also discussed. Overall, these results demonstrate the importance of symmetry not only as a organizing principle in physics but also as a tool to control quantum systems.

Adv. in Phys. 67, 1 (2018)arXiv:1707.07895

Order and symmetry-breaking in the fluctuations of driven systems

N. Tizón-Escamilla, C. Pérez-Espigares, P.L. Garrido, P.I. Hurtado

Dynamic phase transitions (DPTs) at the fluctuating level are one of the most intriguing phenomena of nonequilibrium physics, but their nature in realistic high-dimensional systems remains puzzling. Here we observe for the first time a DPT in the current statistics of an archetypal two-dimensional (2d) driven diffusive system, and characterize its properties using macroscopic fluctuation theory. The complex interplay among the external field, anisotropy and currents in 2d leads to a rich phase diagram, with different symmetry-broken fluctuation phases separated by lines of 1st– and 2nd-order DPTs. Order in the form of coherent jammed states emerges to hinder transport for low-current fluctuations, revealing a deep connection between rare events and self-organized structures which enhance their probability, an observation of broad implications.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 090602 (2017); arXiv:1606.07507

Thermodynamics of currents in nonequilibrium diffusive systems: theory and simulation

Pablo I. Hurtado, Carlos P. Espigares, Jesus J. del Pozo, Pedro L. Garrido

screenshot_16Understanding the physics of nonequilibrium systems remains as one of the major challenges of theoretical physics. This problem can be cracked in part by investigating the macroscopic fluctuations of the currents characterizing nonequilibrium behavior, their statistics and associated structures. This fundamental line of research has been severely hampered by the overwhelming complexity of this problem. However, during the last years two new general methods have appeared to investigate fluctuating behavior that are changing radically our understanding of nonequilibrium physics: a powerful macroscopic fluctuation theory (MFT) and a set of advanced computational techniques to measure rare events. In this work we study the statistics of current fluctuations in nonequilibrium diffusive systems, using macroscopic fluctuation theory as theoretical framework, and advanced Monte Carlo simulations of several stochastic lattice gases as a laboratory to test the emerging picture. Our quest will bring us from (1) the confirmation of an additivity conjecture in one and two dimensions, which considerably simplifies the MFT complex variational problem to compute the thermodynamics of currents, to (2) the discovery of novel isometric fluctuation relations, which opens an unexplored route toward a deeper understanding of nonequilibrium physics by bringing symmetry principles to the realm of fluctuations, and to (3) the observation of coherent structures in fluctuations, which appear via dynamic phase transitions involving a spontaneous symmetry breaking event at the fluctuating level. The clear-cut observation, measurement and characterization of these unexpected phenomena, well described by MFT, strongly support this theoretical scheme as the natural theory to understand the thermodynamics of currents in nonequilibrium diffusive media, opening new avenues of research in nonequilibrium physics.

J. Stat. Phys. 154, 214 (2014)arXiv:1312.1246

Symmetry and the thermodynamics of currents in open quantum systems

Daniel Manzano, Pablo I. Hurtado

Symmetry is a powerful concept in physics, and its recent application to understand nonequilibrium behavior is providing deep insights and groundbreaking exact results. Here we show how to harness symmetry to control transport and statistics in open quantum systems. Such control is enabled by a first-order-type dynamic phase transition in current statistics and the associated coexistence of different transport channels (or nonequilibrium steady states) classified by symmetry. Microreversibility then ensues, via the Gallavotti-Cohen fluctuation theorem, a twin dynamic phase transition for rare current fluctuations. Interestingly, the symmetry present in the initial state is spontaneously broken at the fluctuating level, where the quantum system selects the symmetry sector that maximally facilitates a given fluctuation. We illustrate these results in a qubit network model motivated by the problem of coherent energy harvesting in photosynthetic complexes, and introduce the concept of a symmetry-controlled quantum thermal switch, suggesting symmetry-based design strategies for quantum devices with controllable transport properties.

Phys. Rev. B 90, 125138 (2014)arXiv:1310.7370