Ancilla-assisted measurement of quantum work

Gabriele De Chiara, Paolo Solinas, Federico Cerisola, Augusto J. Roncaglia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


We review the use of an external auxiliary detector for measuring the full distribution of the work performed on or extracted from a quantum system during a unitary thermodynamic process. We first illustrate two paradigmatic schemes that allow one to measure the work distribution: a Ramsey technique to measure the characteristic function and a positive operator valued measure (POVM) scheme to directly measure the work probability distribution. Then, we show that these two ideas can be understood in a unified framework for assessing work fluctuations through a generic quantum detector and describe two protocols that are able to yield complementary information. This allows us also to highlight how quantum work is affected by the presence of coherences in the system's initial state. Finally, we describe physical implementations and experimental realisations of the first two schemes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThermodynamics in the quantum regime
Subtitle of host publication Recent Progress and Outlook
Publication statusAccepted - 15 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Published version. As a chapter of: F. Binder, L. A. Correa, C. Gogolin, J. Anders, and G. Adesso (eds.), "Thermodynamics in the quantum regime - Recent Progress and Outlook", (Springer International Publishing)


  • quant-ph
  • cond-mat.stat-mech

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