Abstract:
We show that, when a finite anisotropic Heisenberg spin-1/2 chain in the gapped regime is driven far from equilibrium, oppositely polarized ferromagnetic domains build up at the edges of the chain, thus suppressing quantum spin transport. As a consequence, a negative differential conductivity regime arises, where increasing the driving decreases the current. The above results are explained in terms of magnon localization and are shown to be structurally stable against breaking of integrability.

Abstract:
Isotropization occurs on time scales much shorter than the thermal equilibration time. This is a crucial ingredient for the understanding of collision experiments of heavy nuclei or other nonequilibrium phenomena in complex many body systems. We discuss in detail the limitations of estimates based on standard ``linear'' or relaxation-time approximations, where isotropization and thermal equilibration rates agree. For a weak-coupling $\phi^4$-model the relaxation-time approximation underestimates the thermal equilibration time by orders of magnitude, in contrast to the isotropization time. The characteristic nonequilibrium isotropization rate can be enhanced as compared to the close-to-equilibrium value. Our results are obtained from the two-particle irreducible effective action, which includes off-shell and memory effects and does not involve a gradient expansion. This allows us to determine the range of validity of a description to lowest-order in gradients, which is typically employed in kinetic equations.

Abstract:
We investigate the presence of multipartite entanglement in macroscopic spin chains. We discuss the Heisenberg and the XY model and derive bounds on the internal energy for systems without multipartite entanglement. Based on this we show that in thermal equilibrium the above mentioned spin systems contain genuine multipartite entanglement, even at finite modest temperatures.

Abstract:
Time-dependent density matrix renormalization group method with a matrix product ansatz is employed for explicit computation of non-equilibrium steady state density operators of several integrable and non-integrable quantum spin chains, which are driven far from equilibrium by means of Markovian couplings to external baths at the two ends. It is argued that even though the time-evolution can not be simulated efficiently due to fast entanglement growth, the steady states in and out of equilibrium can be typically accurately approximated, so that chains of length of the order n ~ 100 are accessible. Our results are demonstrated by performing explicit simulations of steady states and calculations of energy/spin densities/currents in several problems of heat and spin transport in quantum spin chains. Previously conjectured relation between quantum chaos and normal transport is re-confirmed with high acurracy on much larger systems.

Abstract:
We present the theoretical basis for and experimental verification of arbitrary single-qubit state generation, using the polarization of photons generated via spontaneous parametric downconversion. Our precision measurement and state reconstruction system has the capability to distinguish over 3 million states, all of which can be reproducibly generated using our state creation apparatus. In order to complete the triumvirate of single qubit control, there must be a way to not only manipulate single qubits after creation and before measurement, but a way to characterize the manipulations \emph{themselves}. We present a general representation of arbitrary processes, and experimental techniques for generating a variety of single qubit manipulations, including unitary, decohering, and (partially) polarizing operations.

Abstract:
Possible universal dynamics of a many-body system far from thermal equilibrium are explored. A focus is set on meta-stable non-thermal states exhibiting critical properties such as self-similarity and independence of the details of how the respective state has been reached. It is proposed that universal dynamics far from equilibrium can be tuned to exhibit a dynamical phase transition where these critical properties change qualitatively. This is demonstrated for the case of a superfluid two-component Bose gas exhibiting different types of long-lived but non-thermal critical order. Scaling exponents controlled by the ratio of experimentally tuneable coupling parameters offer themselves as natural smoking guns. The results shed light on the wealth of universal phenomena expected to exist in the far-from-equilibrium realm.

Abstract:
Possible universal dynamics of a many-body system far from thermal equilibrium are explored. A focus is set on meta-stable non-thermal states exhibiting critical properties such as self-similarity and independence of the details of how the respective state has been reached. It is proposed that universal dynamics far from equilibrium can be tuned to exhibit a dynamical phase transition where these critical properties change qualitatively. This is demonstrated for the case of a superfluid two-component Bose gas exhibiting different types of long-lived but non-thermal critical order. Scaling exponents controlled by the ratio of experimentally tuneable coupling parameters offer themselves as natural smoking guns. The results shed light on the wealth of universal phenomena expected to exist in the far-from-equilibrium realm.

Abstract:
Anyons are particlelike excitations of strongly correlated phases of matter with fractional statistics, characterized by nontrivial changes in the wave function, generalizing Bose and Fermi statistics, when two of them are interchanged. This can be used to perform quantum computations [A. Yu. Kitaev, Ann. Phys. (N.Y.) 303, 2 (2003)]. We show how to simulate the creation and manipulation of Abelian and non- Abelian anyons in topological lattice models using trapped atoms in optical lattices. Our proposal, feasible with present technology, requires an ancilla particle which can undergo single-particle gates, be moved close to each constituent of the lattice and undergo a simple quantum gate, and be detected.

Abstract:
Ultracold atomic quantum gases belong to the most exciting challenges of modern physics. Their theoretical description has drawn much from classical field equations. These mean-field approximations are in general reliable for dilute gases in which the atoms collide only rarely with each other, and for situations where the gas is not too far from thermal equilibrium. With present-day technology it is, however, possible to drive and observe a system far away from equilibrium. Functional quantum field theory provides powerful tools to achieve both, analytical understanding and numerical computability, also in higher dimensions, of far-from-equilibrium quantum many-body dynamics. In the article, an outline of these approaches is given, including methods based on the two-particle irreducible effective action as well as on renormalisation-group theory. Their relation to near-equilibrium kinetic theory is discussed, and the distinction between quantum and classical statistical fluctuations is shown to naturally emerge from the functional-integral description. Example applications to the evolution of an ultracold atomic Bose gas in one spatial dimension underline the power of the methods. The article is compiled from the notes for lectures held at 46. Internationale Universitaetswochen fuer Theoretische Physik 2008 in Schladming, Austria.

Abstract:
We review a coherent mesoscopic presentation of thermodynamics and fluctuations far from and near equilibrium, applicable to chemical reactions, energy transfer and transport processes, and electrochemical systems. Both uniform and spatially dependent systems are considered. The focus is on processes leading to and in non？equilibrium stationary states; on systems with multiple stationary states; and on issues of relative stability of such states. We establish thermodynamic state functions, dependent on the irreversible processes, with simple physical interpretations that yield the work available from these processes and the fluctuations. A variety of experiments are cited that substantiate the theory. The following topics are included: one-variable systems, linear and nonlinear; connection of thermodynamic theory with stochastic theory; multivariable systems; relative stability of different phases; coupled transport processes; experimental determination of thermodynamic and stochastic potentials; dissipation in irreversible processes and nonexistence of extremum theorems; efficiency of oscillatory reactions, including biochemical systems; and fluctuation-dissipation relations.