Prethermalization and thermalization of isolated quantum many-body systems
University of Augsburg
When an isolated quantum many-body system is suddenly forced out of equilibrium, it is expected to relax to the thermal state predicted by statistical mechanics, which depends only on energy and particle number. This behavior is indeed observed, e.g., for intermediate interaction quenches in Hubbard models. On the other hand, integrable systems usually relax instead to a nonthermal state, because a detailed memory on the initial conditions persists due to the many constants of motion. Weakly interacting systems can at first be trapped in a so-called prethermalized state due to the proximity of an integrable, noninteracting Hamiltonian. I will discuss examples and concepts for these phenomena.