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On the hydrodynamics of unstable excitations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Olalla A. Castro-Alvaredo, Cecilia De Fazio, Benjamin Doyon, Francesco Ravanini

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number9
Published1 Sep 2020

King's Authors


The generalized hydrodynamic (GHD) approach has been extremely successful in describing the out-of-equilibrium properties of a great variety of integrable many-body quantum systems. It naturally extracts the large-scale dynamical degrees of freedom of the system, and is thus a particularly good probe for emergent phenomena. One such phenomenon is the presence of unstable particles, traditionally seen via special analytic structures of the scattering matrix. Because of their finite lifetime and energy threshold, these are especially hard to study. In this paper we apply the GHD approach to a model possessing both unstable excitations and quantum integrability. The largest family of relativistic integrable quantum field theories known to have these features are the homogeneous sine-Gordon models. We consider the simplest non-trivial example of such theories and investigate the effect of an unstable excitation on various physical quantities, both at equilibrium and in the non-equilibrium state arising from the partitioning protocol. The hydrodynamic approach sheds new light onto the physics of the unstable particle, going much beyond its definition via the analytic structure of the scattering matrix, and clarifies its effects both on the equilibrium and out-of-equilibrium properties of the theory. Crucially, within this dynamical perspective, we identify unstable particles as finitely-lived bound states of co-propagating stable particles of different types, and observe how stable populations of unstable particles emerge in large-temperature thermal baths.

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