Thermodynamics of discrete quantum processes
New Journal of Physics
IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
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We define thermodynamic configurations and identify two primitives of discrete quantum processes between configurations for which heat and work can be defined in a natural way. This allows us to uncover a general second law for any discrete trajectory that consists of a sequence of these primitives, linking both equilibrium and non-equilibrium configurations. Moreover, in the limit of a discrete trajectory that passes through an infinite number of configurations, i.e. in the reversible limit, we recover the saturation of the second law. Finally, we show that for a discrete Carnot cycle operating between four configurations one recovers Carnot's thermal efficiency. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
© IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
Vol. 15 (2013) 033022