Work, Heat and Entropy Production Along Quantum Trajectories

  • Cyril ElouardEmail author
  • M. Hamed Mohammady
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 195)


Quantum open systems evolve according to completely positive, trace preserving maps acting on the density operator, which can equivalently be unraveled in term of so-called quantum trajectories. These stochastic sequences of pure states correspond to the actual dynamics of the quantum system during single realizations of an experiment in which the system’s environment is monitored. In this chapter, we present an extension of stochastic thermodynamics to the case of open quantum systems, which builds on the analogy between the quantum trajectories and the trajectories in phase space of classical stochastic thermodynamics. We analyze entropy production, work and heat exchanges at the trajectory level, identifying genuinely quantum contributions due to decoherence induced by the environment. We present three examples: the thermalization of a quantum system, the fluorescence of a driven qubit and the continuous monitoring of a qubit’s observable.



C.E. acknowledges support by the US Department of Energy grante No. DE-SC0017890 and thanks Chapman University and the Institute for Quantum Studies for hospitality during this project. M.H.M. acknowledges support from EPSRC (Grant No. EP/P030815/1).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Lancaster UniversityLancasterUnited Kingdom

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