We develop a theoretical framework for describing steady-state quantum transport phenomena, based on the general maximum-entropy principle of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. The general form of the many-body density matrix is derived, which contains the invariant part of the current operator that guarantees the nonequilibrium and steady-state character of the ensemble. Several examples of the theory are given, demonstrating the relationship of the present treatment to the widely used scattering-state occupation schemes at the level of the self-consistent single-particle approximation. The latter schemes are shown not to maximize the entropy, except in certain limits.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Physical Review B|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Sep 2003|
Bibliographical note© 2003 American Physical Society. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Physical Review B. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self archiving policy. NB Erratum: Physical Review B 72 199904(E) (2005) (1 page); http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRB/v72/e199904.