Condensed Matter Physics Seminar

Nicole Yunger Halpern, Quantum Information and Matter, Caltech

Friday 29 November 2013, 1500-1600
C1 Physics Building

Simple thermo, general tools: The resource theory of informational nonequilibrium'

How can thermodynamics, which involves vast numbers of particles, describe cutting-edge technology, which involves miniscule scales? Small-scale thermodynamics is modeled by a resource theory like that of pure bipartite entanglement. When all Hamiltonians are totally degenerate, this thermodynamic model becomes a resource theory of information, or nonuniformity. I will explain the nonuniformity theory, the insights it offers into thermodynamics, and its intrinsic interest (arXiv:1309.6586). Two mathematical tools clarify the nonuniformity theory: Lorenz curves and smooth single-shot entropies. After introducing these tools, which generalize to broader thermodynamic contexts, I will illustrate their simplication of proofs and the geometric insights they offer. This research program is intended to help clarify small-scale thermodynamics and to inform applications such as nanoscale engines.