Quantum thermodynamics

In thermodynamics, quantum thermodynamics is the quantum mechanical study, such as is embodied in the logic of the Schrödinger equation (1926), of the energy and entropy of systems in relation to irreversibility. [1] In large part, the subject is still in a rather nascent topic. [2]

In 1900, German physicist Max Planck theorized that the internal energy U of a black body (resonator) could be divided into a discrete number of “energy elements” ε by the expression:

U = εP

where P is large integer. [1] This supposition later led German-born American physicist Albert Einstein, in 1905, to propose that light itself was composed of quantums of energy, i.e. light quantums. These light quantums later came to be called “photons”, a term introduced in 1926 by American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis. In 1927, American chemical engineer John von Neumann published Thermodynamics of Quantum Mechanical Assemblies, in which he extended Ludwig Boltzmann’s notion of entropy to quantum systems. American thermodynamicist László Tisza, of the MIT school of thermodynamics, seems to have been the first to define the term “quantum thermodynamics” to a significant degree, in his 1963 article “The Conceptual Structure of Physics”, who stated:

“We shall occasionally refer to these theories [mechanics, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics] by the generic name quantum thermodynamics.

Tisza’s associate Italian thermodynamicist Gian Beretta, also from the MIT school, seems to have picked up this subject with the launching of the 2005 QuantumThermodynamics.org website. Beretta defines quantum thermodynamics as the unified theory of mechanics and thermodynamics that explains the microscopic foundations of entropy and irreversibility that drive all natural physical phenomena, which he states is a subject developed by George Hatsopoulous, Elias Gyftopoulous, James Park, and himself. [3]

1. (a) Tisza, Laszlo. (1963). “The Conceptual Structure of Physics”, (section IV: Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Quantum Mechanics”, Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 35, No. 1, Jan.
(b) Tisza, Laszlo. (1966). Generalized Thermodynamics, (appendix: The Conceptual Structure of Physics, pgs. 343-78). MIT Press.
2. Gemmer, J., Michel, M., and Mahler, Günter. (2004). Quantum Mechanics. Springer.
3. (a) QuantumThermodynamics.org – Gian Beretta.
(b) What is Quantum Thermodynamics? (PDF) - By Gian Beretta.

Further reading
● Landsberg, Peter T. (1961). Thermodynamics with Quantum Statistical Illustrations. Interscience Publishers.
● Park, James L. and Simmons, Ralph F. (1983). “The Knots of Quantum Thermodynamics”; in: Old and New Questions in Physics, Cosmology, Philosophy, and Theoretical Biology: Essays in Honor of Wolfgang Yourgrau (editor: Alwyn Merwe) (§19:289-308). Plenum Press, 1983.
● Armel, Jack. (1996). Entropic Spacetime Theory. World Scientific.
● Gemmer, J., Michel, Mathias, Michel, M., and Mahler, Gunter. (2009). Quantum Thermodynamics: Emergence of Thermodynamic Behavior Within Composite Quantum Systems. Springer.

External links
Quantum thermodynamics – Wikipedia.

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