Quantum thermodynamics under continuous monitoring: a general framework

Manzano, Gonzalo; Zambrini, Roberta
Submitted (2022)

The thermodynamics of quantum systems driven out of equilibrium has attracted increasing attention in last the decade, in connection with quantum information and statistical physics, and with a focus on non-classical signatures. While a first approach can deal with average thermodynamics quantities over ensembles, in order to establish the impact of quantum and environmental fluctuations during the evolution, a continuous quantum measurement of the open system is required. Here we provide an introduction synthesizing the main ingredients needed to establish and interpret thermodynamics for quantum systems whose nonequilibrium evolution is continuously monitored. We review the formalism of quantum trajectories and its consistent application to the thermodynamic scenario, where main quantities such as work, heat, and entropy production can be defined at the stochastic level. The connection to irreversibility and fluctuation theorems is also discussed, together with some recent developments, and we provide some simple examples to illustrate the general theoretical framework.

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