Thermodynamics of precision in quantum non equilibrium steady states

Giacomo Guarnieri, Gabriel T. Landi, Stephen R. Clark, John Goold

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Autonomous engines operating at the nano-scale can be prone to deleterious fluctuations in the heat and particle currents which increase, for fixed power output, the more reversible the operation regime is. This fundamental trade-off between current fluctuations and entropy production forms the basis of the recently formulated thermodynamic uncertainty relations (TURs). However, these relations have so far only been derived for classical Markovian systems and can be violated in the quantum regime. In this paper we show that the geometry of quantum non-equilibrium steady-states alone, already directly implies the existence of a TUR, but with a looser bound. The geometrical nature of this result makes it extremely general, establishing a fundamental limit for the thermodynamics of precision. Our proof is based on the McLennan-Zubarev ensemble, which provides an exact description of non-equilibrium steady-states. We first prove that the entropy production of this ensemble can be expressed as a quantum relative entropy. The TURs are then shown to be a direct consequence of the quantum Cramer-Rao bound, a fundamental result from parameter estimation theory. By combining techniques from many-body physics and information sciences, our approach also helps to shed light on the delicate relationship between quantum effects and current fluctuations in autonomous machines.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusSubmitted - 29 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

6 pages of main text + 7 pages of Appendices


  • cond-mat.stat-mech
  • quant-ph


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