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Journal Articles Physical Review X Year : 2023

Autonomous quantum devices: When are they realizable without additional thermodynamic costs?

Abstract

The resource theory of quantum thermodynamics has been a very successful theory and has generated much follow up work in the community. It requires energy preserving unitary operations to be implemented over a system, bath, and catalyst as part of its paradigm. So far, such unitary operations have been considered a "free" resource in the theory. However, this is only an idealisation of a necessarily inexact process. Here, we include an additional auxiliary control system which can autonomously implement the unitary by turning "on/off" an interaction. However, the control system will inevitably be degraded by the back-action caused by the implementation of the unitary. We derive conditions on the quality of the control device so that the laws of thermodynamics do not change; and prove – by utilising a good quantum clock – that the laws of quantum mechanics allow the back-reaction to be small enough so that these conditions are satisfiable. Our inclusion of non-idealised control into the resource framework also raises interesting prospects, which were absent when considering idealised control. Among other things, the emergence of a 3rd law – without the need for the assumption of a light-cone. Our results and framework unify the field of autonomous thermal machines with the thermodynamic quantum resource theoretic one, and lay the groundwork for all quantum processing devices to be unified with fully autonomous machines.
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hal-03945842 , version 1 (14-12-2023)

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Mischa P. Woods, Michał Horodecki. Autonomous quantum devices: When are they realizable without additional thermodynamic costs?. Physical Review X, 2023, 13, pp.011016. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevX.13.011016⟩. ⟨hal-03945842⟩
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