In both quantum optics and cold atom physics, the behaviour of bosonic photons and atoms is often treated using phase space methods, where mode annihilation and creation operators are represented by c-number phase space variables, with the density operator equivalent to a distribution function of these variables. The anti-commutation rules for fermion annihilation, creation operators suggests the possibility of using anti-commuting Grassmann variables to represent these operators. However, in spite of the seminal work by Cahill and Glauber and a few applications, the use of Grassmann phase space methods in quantum-atom optics to treat fermionic systems is rather rare, though fermion coherent states using Grassmann variables are widely used in particle physics. This paper presents a phase space theory for fermion systems based on distribution functionals, which replace the density operator and involve Grassmann fields representing anti-commuting fermion field annihilation, creation operators. It is an extension of a previous phase space theory paper for fermions (Paper I) based on separate modes, in which the density operator is replaced by a distribution function depending on Grassmann phase space variables which represent the mode annihilation and creation operators. This further development of the theory is important for the situation when large numbers of fermions are involved, resulting in too many modes to treat separately. Here Grassmann fields, distribution functionals, functional Fokker–Planck equations and Ito stochastic field equations are involved. Typical applications to a trapped Fermi gas of interacting spin 1/2 fermionic atoms and to multi-component Fermi gases with non-zero range interactions are presented, showing that the Ito stochastic field equations are local in these cases. For the spin 1/2 case we also show how simple solutions can be obtained both for the untrapped case and for an optical lattice trapping potential.
- fermion phase space theory
- Fock position state populations
- functional Fokker–Planck equations
- Grassmann distribution functionals
- Ito stochastic field equations
- quantum correlation functions