Work and work fluctuations in quantum systems
Universität Stuttgart, Institut für Theoretische Physik, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70550 Stuttgart, Germany
With the development of quantum thermodynamics , it turned out that the existence of a thermal equilibrium can be derived directly from quantum mechanics. This finding has raised the question, what other thermodynamic concepts could be applied to quantum systems and how they might emerge from quantum mechanics. Here, we discuss how the concept of work translates to quantum systems and how its emergence can be understood. Moreover, we show that even for small and simple quantum systems, work may be a meaningful concept. We then address the question of work fluctuations in quantum systems. We discuss the Jarzynski relation and its quantum counterparts and we show that corresponding relations hold even for open quantum systems.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2007