Items tagged with "thermalization"
The quantum world blatantly defies intuitions that we’ve developed while living among relatively large things, like cars, pennies and dust motes. In the quantum world, tiny particles can maintain a special connection over any distance, pass through barriers and simultaneously travel down multiple paths.
A less widely known quantum behavior is dynamical localization, a phenomenon in which a quantum object stays at the same temperature despite a steady supply of energy—bucking the assumption that a cold object will always steal heat from a warmer object.
Nature doesn’t have the best memory. If you fill a box with air and divide it in half with a barrier, it’s easy to tell molecules on the left from molecules on the right. But after removing the barrier and waiting a short while, the molecules get mixed together, and it becomes impossible to tell where a given molecule started. The air-in-a-box system loses any memory of its initial conditions.
Two physical phenomena, localization and ergodicity-breaking, are conjoined in new experimental and theoretical work. Before we consider possible implications for fundamental physics and for prospective quantum computing, let’s first look at these two topics in turn. It will bear providing some specific examples before getting to the quantum details.