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Concept# Liouville's theorem (Hamiltonian)

Summary

In physics, Liouville's theorem, named after the French mathematician Joseph Liouville, is a key theorem in classical statistical and Hamiltonian mechanics. It asserts that the phase-space distribution function is constant along the trajectories of the system—that is that the density of system points in the vicinity of a given system point traveling through phase-space is constant with time. This time-independent density is in statistical mechanics known as the classical a priori probability.
There are related mathematical results in symplectic topology and ergodic theory; systems obeying Liouville's theorem are examples of incompressible dynamical systems.
There are extensions of Liouville's theorem to stochastic systems.
Liouville equation
The Liouville equation describes the time evolution of the phase space distribution function. Although the equation is usually referred to as the "Liouville equation", Josiah Willard Gibbs was the first to recognize the importance o

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Related lectures (6)

The many-body nature of the ubiquitous spin diffusion phenomenon makes it difficult to predict accurately from first principles. We show how the use of reduced Liouville spaces makes it possible to reproduce experimental proton spin diffusion measurements directly from crystalline geometry for powdered solids under magic-angle spinning.

We give a Liouville theorem for entire solutions and Laurent series expansions for solutions with isolated singularities of the heat equation.

The characterization of open quantum systems is a central and recurring problem for the development of quantum technologies. For time-independent systems, an (often unique) steady state describes the average physics once all the transient processes have faded out, but interesting quantum properties can emerge at intermediate timescales. Given a Lindblad master equation, these properties are encoded in the spectrum of the Liouvillian whose diagonalization, however, is a challenge even for small-size quantum systems. Here, we propose a new method to efficiently provide the Liouvillian spectral decomposition. We call this method an Arnoldi-Lindblad time evolution, because it exploits the algebraic properties of the Liouvillian superoperator to efficiently construct a basis for the Arnoldi iteration problem. The advantage of our method is double: (i) It provides a faster-than-the-clock method to efficiently obtain the steady state, meaning that it produces the steady state through time evolution shorter than needed for the system to reach stationarity. (ii) It retrieves the low-lying spectral properties of the Liouvillian with a minimal overhead, allowing to determine both which quantum properties emerge and for how long they can be observed in a system. This method is general and model-independent, and lends itself to the study of large systems where the determination of the Liouvillian spectrum can be numerically demanding but the time evolution of the density matrix is still doable. Our results can be extended to time evolution with a time-dependent Liouvillian. In particular, our method works for Floquet (i.e., periodically driven) systems, where it allows not only to construct the Floquet map for the slow-decaying processes, but also to re- trieve the stroboscopic steady state and the eigenspectrum of the Floquet map. Although the method can be applied to any Lindbla- dian evolution (spin, fermions, bosons, ... ), for the sake of simplicity we demonstrate the efficiency of our method on several examples of coupled bosonic resonators (as a particular example). Our method outperforms other di- agonalization techniques and retrieves the Li- ouvillian low-lying spectrum even for system sizes for which it would be impossible to per- form exact diagonalization.