# Nonequilibrium thermodynamics of interacting tunneling transport: variational grand potential, density functional formulation and nature of steady-state forces

**Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter**(0953-8984). Vol. 24 (2012), 42, p. Article Number: 424219 .

[Artikel, refereegranskad vetenskaplig]

The standard formulation of tunneling transport rests on an open-boundary modeling. There, conserving approximations to nonequilibrium Green function or quantum statistical mechanics provide consistent but computational costly approaches; alternatively, the use of density-dependent ballistic-transport calculations (e.g., Lang 1995 Phys. Rev. B 52 5335), here denoted 'DBT', provides computationally efficient (approximate) atomistic characterizations of the electron behavior but has until now lacked a formal justification. This paper presents an exact, variational nonequilibrium thermodynamic theory for fully interacting tunneling and provides a rigorous foundation for frozen-nuclei DBT calculations as a lowest-order approximation to an exact nonequilibrium thermodynamic density functional evaluation. The theory starts from the complete electron nonequilibrium quantum statistical mechanics and I identify the operator for the nonequilibrium Gibbs free energy which, generally, must be treated as an implicit solution of the fully interacting many-body dynamics. I demonstrate a minimal property of a functional for the nonequilibrium thermodynamic grand potential which thus uniquely identifies the solution as the exact nonequilibrium density matrix. I also show that the uniqueness-of-density proof from a closely related Lippmann-Schwinger collision density functional theory (Hyldgaard 2008 Phys. Rev. B 78 165109) makes it possible to express the variational nonequilibrium thermodynamic description as a single-particle formulation based on universal electron-density functionals; the full nonequilibrium single-particle formulation improves the DBT method, for example, by a more refined account of Gibbs free energy effects. I illustrate a formal evaluation of the zero-temperature thermodynamic grand potential value which I find is closely related to the variation in the scattering phase shifts and hence to Friedel density oscillations. This paper also discusses the difference between the here-presented exact thermodynamic forces and the often-used electrostatic forces. Finally the paper documents an inherent adiabatic nature of the thermodynamic forces and observes that these are suited for a nonequilibrium implementation of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation.

**Nyckelord: **electron-phonon interaction, linear-response theory, time-dependent, transport, der-waals interactions, friedel sum rule, quantum transport, metal-surfaces, statistical-mechanics, anderson impurity, tight-binding

Denna post skapades 2012-12-10. Senast ändrad 2015-12-17.

CPL Pubid: 167392