Transport phenomena

The behaviour of classical and quantum many-particle systems out of equilibrium is among the most prominent problems in modern statistical mechanics. Its study is attracting a considerable attention among statistical and mathematical physicists and, despite the many progresses, there are many open problems. Besides its own interest for the theoretical foundations of irreversible thermodynamics, this topic is also relevant to develop innovative ideas for nanoscale thermal management with possible future applications to nanotechnologies and effective energetic resources. Another relevant field concerns living matter, which is invariably in off-equilibrium states due to the fluctuations and energy exchange with the environment.

Our research program focuses on transport and diffusion of energy in systems characterised by different sources of complexity: nonlinearity, low-dimensionality, long-range interactions and disorder, the latter originating from random interactions and/or topology. Generally speaking, the objective is to describe the dynamics of such systems driven out of equilibrium by external (possibly non-conservative) forces or by different thermal reservoirs exchanging energy, momentum and mass.

The aim of this vast, interdisciplinary research is to illustrate generic and universal features by simple paradigmatic models in the spirit of basic statistical mechanics. Among them, systems of classical coupled oscillators are of particular interest as they represent a large variety of different physical problems like atomic vibrations in crystals and molecules or field modes in optics or acoustics. Methodologically, the tools entail numerical simulations and solution of simplified toy models.