Szilard Engines as Quantum Thermodynamical Systems
Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Szilard Engines as Quantum Thermodynamical Systems


We discuss the Szilard engine whose working fluid consists of a single quantum-mechanical particle. Following Szilard's original solution of Maxwell's Second Law paradox, which turned on physically instantiating the demon (control subsystem), the quantum engine's design parallels the classically-chaotic Szilard Map that operates a thermodynamic cycle of measurement, thermal-energy extraction, and memory reset. We analyze in detail the dynamical mechanisms by which the quantum engine operates, both its thermodynamic costs and the required information processing to observe and control the particle, comparing these in the quantum, semiclassical, and classical limits. We establish Landauer Principles for information-processing-induced thermodynamic dissipation in the quantum and semiclassical regimes.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View