Experimental nonequilibrium memory erasure beyond Landauer's bound


Researchers at the University of Vienna have delved into the link betwen information processing and thermodynamics. By studying Landauers's bound, a fundamental limit on entropy cost for a logical operation, in a non-equilibrium setting they are able to go beyond this threshold.

The clean world of digital information is based on noisy physical devices. Landauer’s principle
provides a deep connection between information processing and the underlying thermodynamics
by setting a lower limit on the energy consumption and heat production of logically irreversible
transformations. While Landauer’s original formulation assumes equilibrium, real devices often
do operate far from equilibrium. We show experimentally that the nonequilibrium character of
a memory state enables full erasure with reduced power consumption as well as negative heat
production. We implement the optimized erasure protocols in an optomechanical two-state memory.
To this end, we introduce dynamical shaping of nonlinear potential landscapes as a powerful tool
for levitodynamics as well as the investigation of far-from-equilibrium processes.


Mario A. CiampiniTobias WenzlMichael KonopikGregor ThalhammerMarkus AspelmeyerEric LutzNikolai Kiesel,"Nonequilibrium control of thermal and mechanical changes in a levitated system"