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13/12/2013, 16:15 — 17:15 — Room P3.10, Mathematics Building

Marco Pezzuto, *University of Trieste*

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Entanglement and the second law of thermodynamics

Under certain assumptions, it is possible to define for an open
quantum system many key thermodynamic quantities, such as the
internal energy, entropy, exchanged heat and work. By means of
these quantities, the zeroth, first and second law of
thermodynamics can also be given a consistent formulation.

A brief introduction on the dynamics of open quantum systems
will be given, together with a review of the concepts of positivity
and complete positivity in relation with entanglement.

Afterwards, it will be shown how to define the law of
thermodynamics, and specifically the second one in terms of
positivity of the internal entropy production, and the connections
with complete positivity of the dynamics. Such techniques have been
applied to a concrete case, namely a model for a quantum pumping
process in a noisy environment. The master equation originally
proposed for this model turns out to provide a non-completely
positive dynamics, and it was found that, in certain conditions,
this fact can lead to consequences from a thermodynamical point of
view, such as violations of the second law.

Complete positivity, beside guaranteeing a physically consistent
description when entanglement is taken into account, seems then to
gain an important role in relation to thermodynamics.