Using a quantum work meter to test non-equilibrium fluctuation theorems

Federico Cerisola, Yair Margalit, Shimon MacHluf, Augusto J. Roncaglia, Juan Pablo Paz, Ron Folman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Work is an essential concept in classical thermodynamics, and in the quantum regime, where the notion of a trajectory is not available, its definition is not trivial. For driven (but otherwise isolated) quantum systems, work can be defined as a random variable, associated with the change in the internal energy. The probability for the different values of work captures essential information describing the behaviour of the system, both in and out of thermal equilibrium. In fact, the work probability distribution is at the core of "fluctuation theorems" in quantum thermodynamics. Here we present the design and implementation of a quantum work meter operating on an ensemble of cold atoms, which are controlled by an atom chip. Our device not only directly measures work but also directly samples its probability distribution. We demonstrate the operation of this new tool and use it to verify the validity of the quantum Jarzynksi identity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1241
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

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