Work Package 1: Quantum speed limits in thermodynamic processes
The steady miniaturisation of devices, along with the development of wholly new quantum technologies, has led to renewed interest in understanding the thermodynamics of quantum systems. The previously familiar concepts of work and heat are being re-examined when the working medium is genuinely quantum. By examining the flow of energy between quantum systems and their environments, while also assessing the build up of correlations between them, we have established meaningful definitions of thermodynamic quantities. How fast such a dynamic can occur has particular practical relevance which will be explored in two settings of broad importance: thermometry and information erasure. Accurately estimating the temperature is a ubiquitous task, and already quantum systems have been shown to be the ultimate probes. Similarly, processing information often comes with an inescapable energetic cost as dictated by Landauer’s bound. Interestingly this sets a fundamental limit the energy cost of an irreversible computation, however to date this limit appears only achievable when the process is performed relatively slowly. It is thus of huge practical relevance to develop fast schemes that nevertheless cost the minimal amount energetically, and therefore will have wide-reaching impact on potential computational models.
Objective and impact: The main goal of WP1 is to analyse the way in which different forms of energy flow when a quantum system is in contact with its environment, with a particular emphasis on understanding the role and attainability of the quantum speed limit.