We present the exact solution for the full dynamics of a nonequilibrium spin chain and its dual reaction-diffusion model, for arbitrary initial conditions. The spin chain is driven out of equilibrium by coupling alternating spins to two thermal baths at different temperatures. In the reaction-diffusion model, this translates into spatially alternating rates for particle creation and annihilation, and even negative “temperatures” have a perfectly natural interpretation. Observables of interest include the magnetization, the particle density, and all correlation functions for both models. Two generic types of time dependence are found: if both temperatures are positive, the magnetization, density, and correlation functions decay exponentially to their steady-state values. In contrast, if one of the temperatures is negative, damped oscillations are observed in all quantities. They can be traced to a subtle competition of pair creation and annihilation on the two sublattices. We comment on the limitations of mean-field theory and propose an experimental realization of our model in certain conjugated polymers and linear chain compounds.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/beate_schmittmann/13/