INFERNOS — (2013-2015)

Information is physical. During the last decade, this basic concept has led to a revolution in our understanding of quantum mechanics. Less attention has been paid so far to equally important implications of this principle in statistical mechanics of small systems, where statistical fluctuations are large and make their thermodynamic properties extremely dependent on the information available. The most basic process illustrating the importance of information to statistical systems is the information-to-energy conversion in the famous Maxwell’s Demon (MD).

Our primary goal is to study both experimentally and theoretically the statistics of fluctuations and the role of information in thermodynamics of nanoscale systems. The first milestone will be the experimental realization of the nanoscale MD. Our vision is to develop the electronic and bio-molecular nanodevices that will allow us to systematically explore the limits of information-powered systems, in particular, to test the Szilár d’s limit relating one bit of information to extracted energy. We will also study statistics of energy fluctuations as revealed via equilibrium and non-equilibrium fluctuations of temperature. Another novel extension of the MD work will be the study of thermodynamic constraints on quantum detectors.

Institut NEEL will elaborate and study quantum nano-junctions prepared by electromigration technique. In particular, we will investigate the quantization of the electronic heat conductance through the dot depending on the number of QD levels available for electron transport.

Contact at Institut Néel : Hervé COURTOIS

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