A Chain, a Bath, a Sink and a Wall

Research paper by Stefano Iubini, Stefano Lepri, Roberto Livi, Gian-Luca Oppo, Antonio Politi

Indexed on: 21 Jun '17Published on: 21 Jun '17Published in: arXiv - Physics - Statistical Mechanics


We investigate out-of-equilibrium stationary processes emerging in a Discrete Nonlinear Schroedinger chain in contact with a heat reservoir (a bath) at temperature $T_L$ and a pure dissipator (a sink) acting on opposite edges. We observe two different regimes. For small heat-bath temperatures $T_L$ and chemical-potentials, temperature profiles across the chain display a non-monotonous shape, remain remarkably smooth and even enter the region of negative absolute temperatures. For larger temperatures $T_L$, the transport of energy is strongly inhibited by the spontaneous emergence of discrete breathers, which act as a thermal wall. A strongly intermittent energy flux is also observed, due to the irregular birth and death events of the breathers. The corresponding statistics exhibits the typical signature of rare events of processes with large deviations. In particular, the breather lifetime is found to be ruled by a stretched-exponential law.