Recent experimental progress in the physics of ultracold atomic gases has revived the interest in the behavior of thermally isolated quantum statistical systems, especially after sudden changes (quenches) of their control parameters. Considering the quench as a thermodynamic transformation, it is natural to focus on the irreversible work done on the system, which is characterized by a certain probability distribution. By studying its large deviations, i.e., rare fluctuations of the work per unit volume, we establish a connection with the physics of a classical system confined in a film geometry. If the system is quenched close to a (quantum) critical point, both the edge singularity and the large deviations of the irreversible work acquire universal features dictated by the critical Casimir effect in the corresponding classical system. In systems of bosons, the statistics of the work may additionally display a transition which is analogous to the equilibrium Bose-Einstein condensation.
Seminar on Disorder and strong electron correlations: "Irreversible work, large deviations, critical Casimir effect, and universality in quantum quenches"
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