|Image Source: Hyper Physics|
Topics: Condensed Matter Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Theoretical Physics, Thermodynamics
For more than a century and a half of physics, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that entropy always increases, has been as close to inviolable as any law we know. In this universe, chaos reigns supreme.
But researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory announced recently that they may have discovered a little loophole in this famous maxim.
Their research, published in Nature Scientific Reports, lays out a possible avenue to a situation where the Second Law is violated on the microscopic level.
The Second Law is underpinned by what is called the H-theorem, which says that if you open a door between two rooms, one hot and one cold, they will eventually settle into lukewarm equilibrium; the hot room will never end up hotter.
Recent advancements in a field called quantum information theory offered a mathematical construction in which entropy increases.
"What we did was formulate how these beautiful abstract mathematical theories could be connected to our crude reality," said Valerii Vinokur, an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and corresponding author on the study.
The scientists took quantum information theory, which is based on abstract mathematical systems, and applied it to condensed matter physics, a well-explored field with many known laws and experiments.
Argonne National Laboratory:
Argonne researchers posit way to locally circumvent Second Law of Thermodynamics