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Equilibration towards generalized Gibbs ensembles in non-interacting theories

by Marek Gluza, Jens Eisert, Terry Farrelly

Submission summary

As Contributors: Marek Gluza
Arxiv Link:
Date submitted: 2019-07-17
Submitted by: Gluza, Marek
Submitted to: SciPost Physics
Domain(s): Theoretical
Subject area: Quantum Physics


Even after almost a century, the foundations of quantum statistical mechanics are still not completely understood. In this work, we provide a precise account on these foundations for a class of systems of paradigmatic importance that appear frequently as mean-field models in condensed matter physics, namely non-interacting lattice models of fermions (with straightforward extension to bosons). We demonstrate that already the translation invariance of the Hamiltonian governing the dynamics and a finite correlation length of the possibly non-Gaussian initial state provide sufficient structure to make mathematically precise statements about the equilibration of the system towards a generalized Gibbs ensemble, even for highly non-translation invariant initial states far from ground states of non-interacting models. Whenever these are given, the system will equilibrate rapidly according to a power-law in time as long as there are no long-wavelength dislocations in the initial second moments that would render the system resilient to relaxation. Our proof technique is rooted in the machinery of Kusmin-Landau bounds. Subsequently, we numerically illustrate our analytical findings by discussing quench scenarios with an initial state corresponding to an Anderson insulator observing power-law equilibration. We discuss the implications of the results for the understanding of current quantum simulators, both in how one can understand the behaviour of equilibration in time, as well as concerning perspectives for realizing distinct instances of generalized Gibbs ensembles in optical lattice-based architectures.

Current status:
Editor-in-charge assigned

Submission & Refereeing History

Submission 1809.08268v2 on 17 July 2019

Reports on this Submission

Anonymous Report 1 on 2019-8-17 Invited Report


1. Mathematical rigor.
2. Generality.
3. Breadth of interest.


1. Details of the proofs can be tedious to go through, but this is unavoidable in a rigorous treatment.


This paper treats the approach to a state of thermal equilibrium, as described by a generalized Gibbs ensemble, for a large class of initial states of a system of noninteracting lattice fermions. It unifies, under a general formalism, a number of other results in the literature, and provides an overview for the general mechanism of thermalization. Therefore this work should be of interest to physicists across a number of disciplines.

In my judgment, this is a very high quality paper that deserves a wide audience.

Requested changes


  • validity: top
  • significance: high
  • originality: high
  • clarity: high
  • formatting: excellent
  • grammar: excellent

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