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Maxwell’s demon in the quantum world
Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 @ 23:33:08 GMT by vlad

Science Juan M. R. Parrondo and Jordan M. Horowitz
Departamento de Física Atómica, Molecular y Nuclear and GISC, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040-Madrid, Spain

Physics 4, 13 (2011)/Published February 14, 2011

Extraction of work from a heat bath using the Szilard engine depends crucially on the statistics of indistinguishable particles.

A Viewpoint on: Quantum Szilard Engine

Sang Wook Kim, Takahiro Sagawa, Simone De Liberato, and Masahito Ueda
Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 070401 (2011) – Published February 14, 2011

Information and thermodynamics are intimately connected. This idea was first illustrated by Maxwell with his celebrated demon: an intelligent being who uses his knowledge about the position and velocity of the molecules in a gas to transfer heat against a temperature gradient without expenditure of work, beating the second law of thermodynamics. The Szilard engine is a stylized version of the demon, where a yes/no measurement of a classical single-particle system allows one to extract a tiny amount of energy, kT ln2, k being the Boltzmann constant, from a thermal reservoir at temperature T. The engine has been around for almost a century now [1]. Along the way it has furnished insight into the foundations of statistical mechanics, become the canonical model for investigations of feedback-controlled systems, and even spurred the creation of a new field: the thermodynamics of computation...

More: http://physics.aps.org/articles/v4/13



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