Fourier's law: Insight from a simple derivation

Y. Dubi, M. Di Ventra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The onset of Fourier's law in a one-dimensional quantum system is addressed via a simple model of weakly coupled quantum systems in contact with thermal baths at their edges. Using analytical arguments we show that the crossover from the ballistic (invalid Fourier's law) to diffusive (valid Fourier's law) regimes is characterized by a thermal length scale, which is directly related to the profile of the local temperature. In the same vein, dephasing is shown to give rise to classical Fourier's law, similarly to the onset of Ohm's law in mesoscopic conductors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042101
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


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