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.
But even in the twentieth century, as our knowledge of quantum mechanics advanced, we didn’t fully understand the fundamental physical origins of the H-theorem.
“What we did was formulate how these beautiful abstract mathematical theories could be connected to our crude reality.”
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.
“This allowed us to formulate the quantum H-theorem as it related to things that could be physically observed,” said Ivan Sadovskyy, a joint appointee with Argonne’s Materials Science Division and the Computation Institute and another author on the paper. “It establishes a connection between well-documented quantum physics processes and the theoretical quantum channels that make up quantum information theory.”
The work predicts certain conditions under which the H-theorem might be violated and entropy — in the short term — might actually decrease.
As far back as 1867, physicist James Clerk Maxwell described a hypothetical way to violate the Second Law: if a small theoretical being sat at the door between the hot and cold rooms and only let through particles traveling at a certain speed. This theoretical imp is called “Maxwell’s demon.”
“Although the violation is only on the local scale, the implications are far-reaching,” Vinokur said. “This provides us a platform for the practical realization of a quantum Maxwell’s demon, which could make possible a local quantum perpetual motion machine.”
For example, he said, the principle could be designed into a “refrigerator” which could be cooled remotely — that is, the energy expended to cool it could take place anywhere.
The Latest on: Quantum perpetual motion machine
via Google News
The Latest on: Quantum perpetual motion machine
- Quantum computers really suck at being perpetual motion machines on August 3, 2018 at 12:45 pm
An international team of physicists recently published research indicating quantum computers aren’t the way to go for those hoping to break the second law of thermodynamics, the one that says there’s ... […]
- Quantum Computing: Superconductors vs Time Crystals on November 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm
In the context of quantum mechanics, time crystals could act as a sort of perpetual motion machine. Elizabeth Gibney explains in her article The Quest to Crystallize Time in Nature as as a “collection ... […]
- Have scientists side-stepped the Second Law of Thermodynamics? on November 7, 2016 at 12:04 am
Isaac Asimov’s short story The Last Question follows the human race over a trillion-year quest to circumvent the Second Law of Thermodynamics ... The work “could make possible a local quantum perpetua... […]
- There May Be A Loophole in the Second Law of Thermodynamics on October 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy within an ... Vinokur hopes that this could lead into the creation of seemingly impossible machines like a local quantum perpetual motion machine. ... […]
- NASA's 'Warp Drive' Violates Another Law of Physics, Almost Certainly Won't Work on June 2, 2015 at 12:48 am
A physicist has found yet another reason why NASA's headline-grabbing "warp drive" propulsion system should be impossible and probably won't work: As currently constructed, the so-called EmDrive would ... […]
- Ford Fusion Energi Charges Itself To Become a Perpetual Motion Machine – Video on April 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm
The thought of a Ford Fusion Energi that charges itself to become a perpetual motion machine is clearly meant to be a joke ... but it can be understood and explained using the underlying quantum stati... […]
- It's a negative on negative absolute temperatures on December 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm
A 1660 wood engraving of Robert Fludd's 1618 "water screw" perpetual motion machine ... produce systems with negative absolute temperatures, or temperatures below 0 degrees Kelvin. If true, such syste... […]
- Researchers break Newton’s third law — with lasers on October 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm
This story is steeped in conditional phrases and the trademark weirdness of quantum science ... of material with a never-ending propulsive ability calls to mind the perpetual motion machines of days g... […]
- Proposed 4-dimensional crystal clock will keep perfect time even after the heat death of the universe on September 25, 2012 at 9:02 am
Now while it might seem that way, the device is not a perpetual motion machine. Because it's functioning at the lowest quantum energy state, there is no energy output. In terms of other applications, ... […]
via Bing News