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Non-Monotonic Behavior of the Thermodynamic Work as a Function of Switching Time


It is usually believed that the second law necessarily implies the following statement: the faster we drive a system, the larger is the energetic cost for such manipulation. In the present paper, we show that this is not always the case. The energy necessary to drive a system is quantified by the thermodynamic work performed by the external observer. We have shown that there exists a regime in which this quantity reveals a non-monotonic decay as a function of the switching time. Although this effect can be more pronounced in thermally isolated systems, we claim that it can also be present under isothermal conditions. We illustrate our findings with a spin-1/2 in the presence of a time-dependent magnetic field.

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It is a pleasure to thank T. V. Acconcia and S. Deffner for enriching discussions and the organizers of the Workshop “Quantum Information and Thermodynamics”, São Carlos, Brazil, for the nice meeting we had in February, 2015. The author also acknowledges financial support from FAPESP (Brazil), Project No. 2012/07429-0 and Grant No. 2014/23733-6.

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Correspondence to Marcus V. S. Bonança.

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Bonança, M.V.S. Non-Monotonic Behavior of the Thermodynamic Work as a Function of Switching Time. Braz J Phys 46, 248–253 (2016).

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  • Nonequilibrium thermodynamics
  • Irreversible processes
  • Second law of thermodynamics