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Experimental determination of irreversible entropy production in out-of-equilibrium mesoscopic quantum systems

M. Brunelli, L. Fusco, R. Landig, W. Wieczorek, J. Hoelscher-Obermaier, G. Landi, F. L. Semiao, A. Ferraro, N. Kiesel, T. Donner, G. De Chiara, M. Paternostro

By making use of a recently proposed framework for the inference of thermodynamic irreversibility in bosonic quantum systems, we experimentally measure and characterize the entropy production rates in the non-equilibrium steady state of two different physical systems -- a micro-mechanical resonator and a Bose-Einstein condensate -- each coupled to a high finesse cavity and hence also subject to optical loss. Key features of our setups, such as cooling of the mechanical resonator and signatures of a structural quantum phase transition in the condensate are reflected in the entropy production rates. Our work demonstrates the possibility to explore irreversibility in driven mesoscopic quantum systems and paves the way to a systematic experimental assessment of entropy production beyond the microscopic limit.

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ArXiv number: 1602.06958