If you place a drop of ink into a glass of water, the ink will slowly dissipate into the surrounding water until it is perfectly mixed. If you record your experiment with a camera and play the film backwards, you will see something that is never observed in the real world. Such diffusive and irreversible behaviour is ubiquitous in nature. Nevertheless, the fundamental equations that describe the motion of individual particles — Newton’s and Schrödinger’s equations — are reversible in time: a film depicting the motion of just a few particles looks as realistic when played forwards as when played backwards.
In this snapshot, we discuss how one may try to understand the origin of diffusion starting from the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics.
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