Experiments detect entropy production in mesoscopic quantum systems

phys.org | 1/16/2019 | Staff
gbabii05 (Posted by) Level 3
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The production of entropy, which means increasing the degree of disorder in a system, is an inexorable tendency in the macroscopic world owing to the second law of thermodynamics. This makes the processes described by classical physics irreversible and, by extension, imposes a direction on the flow of time. However, the tendency does not necessarily apply in the microscopic world, which is governed by quantum mechanics. The laws of quantum physics are reversible in time, so in the microscopic world, there is no preferential direction to the flow of phenomena.

One of the most important aims of contemporary scientific research is knowing exactly where the transition occurs from the quantum world to the classical world and why it occurs—in other words, finding out what makes the production of entropy predominate. This aim explains the current interest in studying mesoscopic systems, which are not as small as individual atoms but nevertheless display well-defined quantum behavior.

Experimental - Study - Researchers - Brazil - Contribution

A new experimental study by researchers from Brazil and elsewhere offers an important contribution to this field. An article about it has recently been published in Physical Review Letters.

"We studied two systems: a Bose-Einstein condensate with 100,000 atoms confined in a cavity and an optomechanical cavity that confines light between two mirrors," Gabriel Teixeira Landi, a professor at the University of São Paulo's Physics Institute (IF-USP), told.

Landi - Scientists - Model - Production - Entropy

Landi was one of the scientists responsible for developing a theoretical model correlating the production of entropy with measurable quantities for both experiments. The research is supported by São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP. The Bose-Einstein condensate was studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), and the cavity optomechanics device was studied at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Often called the "fifth state of matter" (the other four being solids, liquids, gases and plasma), Bose-Einstein condensates are obtained when a group...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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