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"Quantum Collapse and the Second Law of Thermodynamics"

Sahand Hormoz
Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara


In this talk, I will discuss the implications of quantum mechanics on extracting thermodynamic work from a single heat bath. On one hand, non-orthogonal quantum states are beneficial since they can potentially break detailed balance. On the other hand, measuring such states results in entropy generation and added inefficiencies due to decoherence and the probabilistic nature of quantum collapse. Using the setup of Maxwell's demon, I quantify these two competing facets of a quantum heat engine. The results suggest that the measurement postulate of quantum mechanics is intricately connected to the second law of thermodynamics. More precisely, if quantum measurement outcomes are not inherently probabilistic, then the second law of thermodynamics can be violated.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
IQSE 578, 12:30 p.m.
Mitchell Physics Building

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

(Coffee and Cookies to be served 15 minutes prior start time)