Entropy production and time asymmetry in the presence of strong interactions
Physical Review E
American Physical Society
© 2017 American Physical Society
It is known that the equilibrium properties of open classical systems that are strongly coupled to a heat bath are described by a set of thermodynamic potentials related to the system’s Hamiltonian of mean force. By adapting this framework to a more general class of non-equilibrium states, we show that the equilibrium properties of the bath can be well-defined, even when the system is arbitrarily far from equilibrium and correlated with the bath. These states, which retain a notion of temperature, take the form of conditional equilibrium distributions. For out-of-equilibrium processes we show that the average entropy production quantifies the extent to which the system-bath state is driven away from the conditional equilibrium distribution. In addition, we show that the stochastic entropy production satisfies a generalised Crooks relation and can be used to quantify time-asymmetry of correlated non-equilibrium processes. These results naturally extend the familiar properties of entropy production in weakly-coupled systems to the strong coupling regime. Experimental measurements of the entropy production at strong coupling could be pursued using optomechanics or trapped ion systems, which allow strong coupling to be engineered.
HM is supported by EPSRC through a Doctoral Training Grant. JA acknowledges support from EPSRC, grant EP/M009165/1, and the Royal Society. We would like to thank Hamed Mohammady, Ian Ford and Christopher Jarzynski for useful comments regarding the manuscript. This research was supported by the COST network MP1209 “Thermodynamics in the quantum regime”.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from APS via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 95 (6), article 062123