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Quantum Causal Structure and Quantum Thermodynamics

Weilenmann, Mirjam (2017) Quantum Causal Structure and Quantum Thermodynamics. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis reports progress in two domains, namely causal structures and microscopic thermodynamics, both of which are highly pertinent in the development of quantum technologies. Causal structures fundamentally influence the development of protocols for quantum cryptography and microscopic thermodynamics is crucial for the design of quantum computers. The first part is dedicated to the analysis of causal structure, which encodes the relationship between observed variables, in general restricting the set of possible correlations between them. Our considerations rely on a recent entropy vector method, which we first review. We then develop new techniques for deriving entropic constraints to differentiate between causal structures. We provide sufficient conditions for entropy vectors to be realisable within a causal structure and derive new, improved necessary conditions in terms of so-called non-Shannon inequalities. We also report that for a family of causal structures, including the bipartite Bell scenario and the bilocal causal structure, entropy vectors are unable to distinguish between classical and quantum causes, in spite of the existence of quantum correlations that are not classically reproducible. Hence, further development is needed in order to understand cause from a quantum perspective. In the second part we explore an axiomatic framework for modelling error-tolerant processes in microscopic thermodynamics. Our axiomatisation allows for the accommodation of finite precision levels, which is crucial for describing experiments in the microscopic regime. Moreover, it is general enough to permit the consideration of different error types. The framework leads to the emergence of manageable quantities that give insights into the feasibility and expenditure of processes, which for adiabatic processes are shown to be smooth entropy measures. Our framework also leads to thermodynamic behaviour at the macroscopic scale, meaning that for thermodynamic equilibrium states a unique function provides necessary and sufficient conditions for state transformations, like in the traditional second law.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Mathematics (York)
Depositing User: Mirjam Weilenmann
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2018 15:59
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2018 15:59
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19454

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