Measurement-dependent corrections to work distributions arising from quantum coherences
Physical Review A
American Physical Society
© 2017 American Physical Society
For a quantum system undergoing a unitary, process work is commonly defined based on the two projective measurement protocols, which measures the energies of the system before and after the process. However, it is well known that projective measurements disregard quantum coherences of the system with respect to the energy basis, thus removing potential quantum signatures in the work distribution. Here we consider weak measurements of the system's energy difference and establish corrections to work averages arising from initial system coherences. We discuss two weak measurement protocols that couple the system to a detector, prepared and measured either in the momentum or the position eigenstates. Work averages are derived for when the system starts in the proper thermal state versus when the initial system state is a pure state with thermal diagonal elements and coherences characterized by a set of phases. We show that by controlling only the phase differences between the energy eigenstate contributions in the system's initial pure state, the average work done during the same unitary process can be controlled. By changing the phases alone, one can toggle from regimes where the system absorbs energy, i.e., a work cost, to the ones where it emits energy, i.e., work can be drawn. This suggests that the coherences are additional resources that can be used to manipulate or store energy in a quantum system.
P.S. has received funding from the European Union FP7/2007-2013 under REA Grant Agreement No. 630925–COHEAT and from MIUR-FIRB2013–Project Coca (Grant No. RBFR1379UX). H.J.D.M. is supported by EPSRC through a Doctoral Training Grant. J.A. acknowledges support from EPSRC, Grant No. EP/M009165/1, and the Royal Society. This research was supported by the COST network MP1209 “Thermodynamics in the quantum regime.”
This is the final version of the article. Available from American Physical Society via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 96, article 052115