Irreversible entropy production: From classical to quantum

Gabriel T. Landi, Mauro Paternostro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)
177 Downloads (Pure)


Entropy production is a key quantity in any finite-time thermodynamic process. It is intimately tied with the fundamental laws of thermodynamics, embodying a tool to extend thermodynamic considerations all the way to nonequilibrium processes. It is also often used in attempts to provide the quantitative characterization of logical and thermodynamic irreversibility, stemming from processes in physics, chemistry, and biology. Notwithstanding its fundamental character, a unifying theory of entropy production valid for general processes, both classical and quantum, has not yet been formulated. Developments pivoting around the frameworks of stochastic thermodynamics, open quantum systems, and quantum information theory have led to substantial progress in such endeavors. This has culminated in the unlocking of a new generation of experiments able to address stochastic thermodynamic processes and the impact of entropy production on them. This review aims to provide a compendium on the current framework for the description, assessment, and manipulation of entropy production. Formal aspects of its formulation and the implications stemming from the potential quantum nature of a given process, including a detailed survey of recent experiments, are both presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035008
Number of pages58
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge fruitful discussions and collaborations on the topics of this review with colleagues in the following, certainly not exhaustive, list: O. Abah, G. Adesso, M. Barbieri, G. Barontini, A. Bassi, A. Belenchia, F. Bernards, M. Brunelli, B. Cakmak, R. R. Camasca, S. Campbell, M. Campisi, M. Carlesso, L. Celeri, M. A. Ciampini, F. Ciccarello, M. A. Cipolla, S. Clark, N. E. Comar, L. Correa, G. De Chiara, S. Donadi, T. Donner, A. Ferraro, L. Fusco, J. Garrahan, M. García Díaz, G. Gasbarri, M. G. Genoni, S. Gherardini, B. O. Goes, J. Goold, G. Guarnieri, S. Huelga, A. Imparato, N. Kiesel, I. Lesanovsky, S. Lorenzo, E. Lutz, L. Mancino, M. Mitchison, K. Modi, O. A. D. Molitor, Ö. Müstecaplıoğlu, G. M. Palma, J. Pekola, M. B. Pereira, M. B. Plenio, R. Puebla, Ã. Rivas, M. Rossi, A. Sanpera, J. P. Santos, A. Schliesser, F. L. Semião, R. M. Serra, P. Sgroi, R. R. Soldati, P. Strasberg, H. Ulbricht, R. Uzdin, B. Vacchini, A. Varizi, V. Vedral, A. Winter, Q. Wu, G. Zicari, and K. Zyczkowski. Some of them have provided useful feedback on the manuscript, for which we are grateful. In particular, we thank A. Varizi for his extremely careful reading. This work was supported by H2020 Future and Emerging Technologies through the Collaborative Project TEQ (Grant Agreement No. 766900), the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) (Grants No. 2018/12813-0 and No. 2017/50304-7), the DfE-SFI Investigator Programme (Grant No. 15/IA/2864), the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant UltraQute (Grant No. RGP-2018-266), COST Action No. CA15220, the Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellowship scheme (RSWF\R3\183013) and International Mobility Programme, the UK EPSRC (Grant No. EP/T028106/1), and the SPRINT program supported by FAPESP and Queen’s University Belfast.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Physical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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