Irreversibility and the Arrow of Time in a Quenched Quantum System

T. B. Batalhão, A. M. Souza, R. S. Sarthour, I. S. Oliveira, M. Paternostro, E. Lutz, R. M. Serra

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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Abstract

Irreversibility is one of the most intriguing concepts in physics. While microscopic physical laws are perfectly reversible, macroscopic average behavior has a preferred direction of time. According to the second law of thermodynamics, this arrow of time is associated with a positive mean entropy production. Using a nuclear magnetic resonance setup, we measure the nonequilibrium entropy produced in an isolated spin-1/2 system following fast quenches of an external magnetic field and experimentally demonstrate that it is equal to the entropic distance, expressed by the Kullback-Leibler divergence, between a microscopic process and its time-reverse. Our result addresses the concept of irreversibility from a microscopic quantum standpoint.
Original languageEnglish
Article number190601
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume115
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Nov 2015

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entropy
reaction time
divergence
thermodynamics
nuclear magnetic resonance
physics
magnetic fields

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Batalhão, T. B., Souza, A. M., Sarthour, R. S., Oliveira, I. S., Paternostro, M., Lutz, E., & Serra, R. M. (2015). Irreversibility and the Arrow of Time in a Quenched Quantum System. Physical Review Letters, 115(19), [190601]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.190601
Batalhão, T. B. ; Souza, A. M. ; Sarthour, R. S. ; Oliveira, I. S. ; Paternostro, M. ; Lutz, E. ; Serra, R. M. / Irreversibility and the Arrow of Time in a Quenched Quantum System. In: Physical Review Letters. 2015 ; Vol. 115, No. 19.
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Batalhão, TB, Souza, AM, Sarthour, RS, Oliveira, IS, Paternostro, M, Lutz, E & Serra, RM 2015, 'Irreversibility and the Arrow of Time in a Quenched Quantum System', Physical Review Letters, vol. 115, no. 19, 190601. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.190601

Irreversibility and the Arrow of Time in a Quenched Quantum System. / Batalhão, T. B.; Souza, A. M.; Sarthour, R. S.; Oliveira, I. S.; Paternostro, M.; Lutz, E.; Serra, R. M.

In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 115, No. 19, 190601, 02.11.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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AU - Batalhão, T. B.

AU - Souza, A. M.

AU - Sarthour, R. S.

AU - Oliveira, I. S.

AU - Paternostro, M.

AU - Lutz, E.

AU - Serra, R. M.

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AB - Irreversibility is one of the most intriguing concepts in physics. While microscopic physical laws are perfectly reversible, macroscopic average behavior has a preferred direction of time. According to the second law of thermodynamics, this arrow of time is associated with a positive mean entropy production. Using a nuclear magnetic resonance setup, we measure the nonequilibrium entropy produced in an isolated spin-1/2 system following fast quenches of an external magnetic field and experimentally demonstrate that it is equal to the entropic distance, expressed by the Kullback-Leibler divergence, between a microscopic process and its time-reverse. Our result addresses the concept of irreversibility from a microscopic quantum standpoint.

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