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Coherence and measurement in quantum thermodynamics

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The link between classical information theory and thermodynamics was established by Landauer half a century ago. In this talk we describe a prototypical quantum information processing task that mirrors Landauer’s erasure and has an associated thermodynamic heat and work. We show that when implementing this process it is possible to draw positive mean work from quantum coherences while there is no such contribution in classical thermodynamics [1]. The achievability of this maximum work is exemplified for spin 1/2 particles that undergo a sequence of quantum thermodynamic steps, i.e. the system follows a discrete quantum trajectory [2]. The results are discussed in the context of Maxwell’s demon, quantum work fluctuation relations [3] and single-shot approaches [4], uncovering a new perspective on the role of coherences in quantum thermodynamics.

[1] Kammerlander, Anders, arxiv1502.02673 (2015) [2] Anders, Giovanetti, N. J. Phys., 15, 033022 (2013) [3] Talkner, Lutz, Hänggi, Phys. Rev. E 75 , 050102 (2007) [4] Horodecki, Oppenheim, Nature Comm. 4, 2059 (2013)

This talk is part of the CQIF Seminar series.

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