Volume 98, Number 1, April 2012
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||11 April 2012|
Intensive temperature and quantum correlations for refined quantum measurements
ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques - Mediterranean Technology Park, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain, EU
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London - London WC1E 6BT, UK, EU
3 Departament d'Estructura i Constituents de la Matèria, Universitat de Barcelona - 08028 Barcelona, Spain, EU
4 ICREA-Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avanç cats - Lluis Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain, EU
Accepted: 8 March 2012
We consider the concept of temperature in a setting beyond the standard thermodynamics prescriptions. Namely, rather than restricting to standard coarse-grained measurements, we consider observers able to master any possible quantum measurement —a scenario that might be relevant at nanoscopic scales. In this setting, we focus on quantum systems of coupled harmonic oscillators and study the question of whether the temperature is an intensive quantity, in the sense that a block of a thermal state can be approximated by an effective thermal state at the same temperature as the whole system. Using the quantum fidelity as figure of merit, we identify instances in which this approximation is not valid, as the block state and the reference thermal state are distinguishable for refined measurements. Actually, there are situations in which this distinguishability even increases with the block size. However, we also show that the two states do become less distinguishable with the block size for coarse-grained measurements —thus recovering the standard picture. We then go further and construct an effective thermal state which provides a good approximation of the block state for any observables and sizes. Finally, we point out the role that entanglement plays in this scenario by showing that, in general, the thermodynamic paradigm of local intensive temperature applies whenever entanglement is not present in the system.
PACS: 03.67.-a – Quantum information / 05.30.-d – Quantum statistical mechanics / 05.70.-a – Thermodynamics
© EPLA, 2012
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