Wednesday, July 10, 2013

1307.2288 (Tarun Grover et al.)

Quantum Disentangled Liquids    [PDF]

Tarun Grover, Matthew P. A. Fisher
We introduce and explore a new finite temperature phase of translationally invariant multi-component liquids which we call a "Quantum Disentangled Liquid" (QDL) phase. We suggest that in fluids consisting of two (or more) species of indistinguishable quantum particles with a large mass ratio, it is possible for the light particles to become spatially disentangled due to the "localizing" effects of the heavy particles. We give a precise, formal definition of this Quantum Disentangled Liquid phase in terms of the finite energy density many-particle wavefunctions. While the heavy particles are fully thermalized, for a given (typical) configuration of the heavy particles, the entanglement entropy of the light particles satisfies an area law - that is, the light particles have not thermalized. Thus, in the QDL phase, thermal equilibration is incomplete, and the canonical assumptions of statistical mechanics are not fully operative. While the QDL phase is in a sense more classical than a conventional thermalized fluid since the light particles are disentangled, the very existence of the QDL phase requires a fully quantum description. At high enough "temperatures" the QDL phase will always give way to a conventional fully thermalized phase. We explore the possibility of QDL in water, with the light proton degrees of freedom becoming "localized" on the oxygen ions. We also conceive the possibility that in ordinary atomic or molecular fluids, the ions and electrons might be in a mutual QDL phase. Our ideas might be relevant in the more general context of finite "temperature" field theories involving a strongly fluctuating quantum field coupled to a nearly classical (heavy) quantum field.
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