Three types of Landauer's erasure principle : a microscopic view

Xavier Oriols, Hrvoje Nikolić

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An important step to incorporate information in the second law of thermodynamics was done by Landauer, showing that the erasure of information implies an increase in heat. Most attempts to justify Landauer's erasure principle are based on thermodynamic argumentations. Here, using just the time-reversibility of classical microscopic laws, we identify three types of the Landauer's erasure principle depending on the relation between the two final environments: the one linked to a logical input 1 and the other to logical input 0. The strong type (which is the original Landauer's formulation) requires the final environments to be in thermal equilibrium. The intermediate type giving the entropy change of kln 2 occurs when the two final environments are identical macroscopic states. Finally, the weak Landauer's principle, providing information erasure with no entropy change, when the two final environments are macroscopically different. Even though the above results are formally valid for classical erasure gates, a discussion on their natural extension to quantum scenarios is presented. This paper strongly suggests that the original Landauer's principle (based on the assumption of thermalized environments) is fully reasonable for microelectronics, but it becomes less reasonable for future few-atoms devices working at THz frequencies. Thus, the weak and intermediate Landauer's principles, where the erasure of information is not necessarily linked to heat dissipation, are worth investigating.
Idioma originalEnglish
Número d’article250
Nombre de pàgines20
RevistaEuropean Physical Journal Plus
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 16 de març 2023


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