Maxwell’s Demon Meets Nonequilibrium Quantum Thermodynamics

 Following measurements of a spin system driven out of thermal equilibrium (red), Serra and colleagues’ Maxwell's demon (blue) implements feedback control on the system’s dynamical state [2]. The control is similar to that of a parachute, smoothening the transition of the system from one state to another and rectifying the associated entropy production.
Experimental rectification of entropy production by a Maxwell’s Demon in a quantum system
P. A. Camati, J. P. S. Peterson, T. B. Batalhão, K. Micadei, A. M. Souza, R. S. Sarthour, I. S. Oliveira, R. M. Serra

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 on a non-equilibrium dynamics can be mitigated by assessing microscopic information and applying a feed-forward strategy at the quantum scale.

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Bringing quantum mechanics to life: from Schrödinger’s cat to Schrödinger’s microbe

Zhang-qi Yin, Tongcang Li
The question whether quantum mechanics is complete and the nature of the transition between quantum mechanics and classical mechanics have intrigued physicists for decades. There have been many experimental breakthroughs in creating larger and larger quantum superposition and entangled states since Erwin Schr\”{o}dinger proposed his famous thought experiment of putting a cat in a superposition of both alive and dead states in 1935. Remarkably, recent developments in quantum optomechanics and electromechanics may lead to the realization of quantum superposition of living microbes soon. Recent evidences also suggest that quantum coherence may play an important role in several biological processes. In this review, we first give a brief introduction to basic concepts in quantum mechanics and the Schr\”{o}dinger’s cat thought experiment. We then review developments in creating quantum superposition and entangled states and the realization of quantum teleportation. Non-trivial quantum effects in photosynthetic light harvesting and avian magnetoreception are also discussed. At last, we review recent proposals to realize quantum superposition, entanglement and state teleportation of microorganisms, such as viruses and bacteria.

A Schrodinger Cat Living in Two Boxes

Chen Wang et al
Quantum superpositions of distinct coherent states in a single-mode harmonic oscillator, known as “cat states”, have been an elegant demonstration of Schrodinger’s famous cat paradox.
Here, we realize a two-mode cat state of electromagnetic fields in two microwave cavities bridged by a superconducting artificial atom, which can also be viewed as an entangled pair of single-cavity cat states. We present full quantum state tomography of this complex cat state over a Hilbert space exceeding 100 dimensions via quantum non-demolition measurements of the joint photon number parity.
The ability to manipulate such multi-cavity quantum states paves the way for logical operations between redundantly encoded qubits for fault-tolerant quantum computation and communication.

What happens if you saw Schrödinger’s cat in half?

Read also:
1. Schrödinger’s cat alive and dead even after you saw it in half
2. Schrödinger’s cat lives and dies in two boxes at once


Spooky Action at No Distance: On the individuation of quantum mechanical systems

David Weinbaum
Recent experiments have perfectly verified the fact that quantum correlations between two entangled particles are stronger than any classical, local pre-quantum worldview allows. This is famously called the EPR paradox first conceived as a thought experiment and decades later realized in the lab. We discuss in depth the nature of the paradox and show that the problematics it presents is first and foremost epistemological. After briefly exploring resolutions to the paradox that after many decades of discourse still remain controversial, we argue that the paradox is rooted in the failure of our current metaphysical scheme, being the foundation of our knowledge, to accommodate and cohere our knowledge of the phenomena of entanglement. We then develop and make the case for a novel and more fundamental resolution of the paradox by changing the underlying metaphysical foundation from one based on individuals to a one based on individuation. We discuss in detail how in the light of this new scheme concepts central to the paradox such as realism, causality and locality are adjusted to the effect that the paradox is resolved without giving up these concepts so fundamental to our thinking. We conclude with a brief note about the important role of metaphysics to the progress of knowledge and our understanding of reality.