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Comparison of the Non-Equilibrium Predictions of Quantum Thermodynamics at the Atomistic Level With Experimental Evidence

[+] Author Affiliations
Charles E. Smith, Michael R. von Spakovsky

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. IMECE2011-64444, pp. 619-630; 12 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 4: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; Combustion Science and Engineering; Nanoengineering for Energy, Parts A and B
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5490-7
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Experimental evidence is presented and compared with theoretical predictions from Quantum Thermodynamics, (QT) to examine whether or not the claims of QT are consistent with the existence and generation of entropy at atomistic scales. QT makes the assertion that entropy is an intrinsic property of matter in the same way that inertial mass, energy, and momentum are and must, thus, exist even for single particles. Entropy as defined by QT is a measure of the distribution of a system’s internal energy at any given instant of time amongst the available internal degrees of freedom, i.e., the energy eigenlevels of the system. In this paper, it is shown that QT predicts the internal relaxation of a 5-level rubidium system that is consistent with the experimental data and not explained by current theory, i.e. by Quantum Mechanics. In addition, it is demonstrated that the decay of so-called “cat states” for single ions that are contained in Paul traps and that interact with a heat reservoir is also consistent with the idea of the existence of entropy and entropy generation at atomistic scales. This is accomplished by comparing experimental data with the predictions made using an extension of the equation of motion of QT that allows for heat interactions.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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