The Szilárd engine is a mechanism (akin to Maxwell's demon) for converting information into energy, which seemingly violates the second law of thermodynamics. Originally a classical thought experiment, it was extended to a quantized treatment by Zurek. Here, we examine a new, elegant model of a quantum Szilárd engine by replacing the traditional rigid box with a harmonic potential, extending the scope of the model. Remarkably, almost all calculations are exact. This article is suitable for students, researchers, and educators interested in the conceptual links among information, entropy, and quantum measurement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)