Landauer's Principle in a Quantum Szilard Engine without Maxwell's Demon

Aydin A., Sisman A., Kosloff R.

ENTROPY, vol.22, no.3, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/e22030294
  • Journal Name: ENTROPY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Communication Abstracts, INSPEC, Metadex, zbMATH, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Quantum Szilard engine constitutes an adequate interplay of thermodynamics, information theory and quantum mechanics. Szilard engines are in general operated by a Maxwell's Demon where Landauer's principle resolves the apparent paradoxes. Here we propose a Szilard engine setup without featuring an explicit Maxwell's demon. In a demonless Szilard engine, the acquisition of which-side information is not required, but the erasure and related heat dissipation still take place implicitly. We explore a quantum Szilard engine considering quantum size effects. We see that insertion of the partition does not localize the particle to one side, instead creating a superposition state of the particle being in both sides. To be able to extract work from the system, particle has to be localized at one side. The localization occurs as a result of quantum measurement on the particle, which shows the importance of the measurement process regardless of whether one uses the acquired information or not. In accordance with Landauer's principle, localization by quantum measurement corresponds to a logically irreversible operation and for this reason it must be accompanied by the corresponding heat dissipation. This shows the validity of Landauer's principle even in quantum Szilard engines without Maxwell's demon.