Researchers from the Center of Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems within the Institute for Basic Science (PCS-IBS) have made an important discovery that describes the relationship between synchronization and thermodynamics of quantum systems.
The question of how order emerges from chaos has captivated mankind for centuries. An interesting example of such an occurrence is synchronization, where several oscillators that are initialized randomly can end up oscillating in unison. Synchronization exists in our everyday lives—for example, the sound of clapping hands or the simultaneous flashing of fireflies.
Remarkably, scientists have discovered many instances of synchronization in various natural and artificial phenomena, including very small systems governed by quantum mechanics.
At the same time, the study of synchronization must also take into account the second law of thermodynamics that only allows the general disorder of the universe to increase. This means that in order for a strong emergence of order-like synchronization to occur, there must be a cost of increased disturbance elsewhere (for example, a waste heat in the surrounding environment). However, despite these intriguing connections, the precise relationship between synchronization and thermodynamics remains a mystery.
To resolve the underlying connection between synchronization and thermodynamics in the quantum regime, PCS-IBS researchers investigated a novel quantum thermal machine that exhibits synchronization. This machine can act as a quantum heat engine or as a quantum refrigerator. The study was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
As a heat engine, it changes the flow of heat from the hot to the cold bath to increase the intensity of the laser light. In contrast, as a refrigerator, it uses energy from laser light to maintain the temperature of the cold bath. Importantly, this machine is able to undergo simultaneous synchronization while performing its task due to its continuous interaction with the laser.
Surprisingly, the researchers found that as they enlarged the machine, more synchronized actors began to appear inside the machine. The synchronization behavior of the machine is not only influenced by its interaction with the lasers but also by the interplay between its various components.
These different synchronization actors can cooperate and compete, like two individuals jumping on a trampoline—for example, let’s call them Jack and Jill. Cooperation arises when Jack and Jill adjust their jumping rhythm in harmony, reaching their highest and lowest points simultaneously. Conversely, competition occurs when Jack tries to match Jill’s rhythm while Jill deliberately does the opposite, such as trying to be at her lowest point when Jack reaches her highest.
According to the corresponding author, Dr. Juzar Thingna, “This is the first example where the synchronization of quantum systems has been shown to cooperate and compete, opening a path to a better synchronization landscape like quantum chimeras.”
Interestingly, cooperation and competition between different synchronization mechanisms are related to the thermodynamic performance of the engine. Cooperation appears in the case of the refrigerator, ie, they have a preference for a system that synchronizes harmony, like a peaceful orchestra. On the other hand, competition arises in the case of heat engines, because their components develop in the middle of a crazy party and use all the chaos to do their best.
These findings are important because they not only shed light on the fundamental relationship between synchronization and thermodynamics, but also provide us with new ideas for designing quantum technologies and relate the abstract idea to synchronize the production of quantum devices.
In other words, improving our understanding of how quantum machines synchronize, will allow us to create better devices that work together. This could lead to more efficient and powerful quantum machines that could one day ignite the quantum revolution.
Taufiq Murtadho et al, Cooperation and Competition in Synchronous Open Quantum Systems, Physical Review Letters (2023). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.131.030401
Provided by the Institute for Basic Science
Citation: Unveiling synchronization preferences of quantum thermal machines (2023, July 18) retrieved 18 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-unveiling-synchronization-quantum-thermal-machines. html
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