@PRL Maxwell’s Demon Meets Nonequilibrium Quantum Thermodynamics

December 6, 2016



A new implementation of a Maxwell’s demon can control entropy production in a quantum-mechanical system that is driven out of thermal equilibrium. Maxwell’s demon explores the role of information in physical processes. Employing information about microscopic degrees of freedom, this “intelligent observer” is capable of compensating entropy production (or extracting work), apparently challenging the second law of thermodynamics. In a modern standpoint, it is regarded as a feedback control mechanism and the limits of thermodynamics are recast incorporating information-to-energy conversion. We derive a trade-off relation between information-theoretic quantities empowering the design of an efficient Maxwell’s demon in a quantum system. The demon is experimentally implemented as a spin-1/2 quantum memory that acquires information, and employs it to control the dynamics of another spin-1/2 system, through a natural interaction. Noise and imperfections in this protocol are investigated by the assessment of its effectiveness. This realization provides experimental evidence that the irreversibility in a non-equilibrium dynamics can be mitigated by assessing microscopic information and applying a feed-forward strategy at the quantum scale.



Read more: Physical Review Letters 117, 240502 (2016) - highlighted as Editors' Suggestion


Featured in:

Physics (APS): Viewpoint: Maxwell’s Demon Meets Nonequilibrium Quantum Thermodynamics.

Pro-physik (German physics portal - Wiley-VCH): Maxwellscher Dämon bei der Arbeit.

Lenta (Moscow based newspaper): Получен демон Максвелла.

Revista Pesquisa (FAPESP): Quantum demon.

Revista Pesquisa (FAPESP): Diabrura quântica.  | PDF

Destaque em Física (SBF): Grupo cria 'demônio de Maxwell' para sistema quântico.


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