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Friday, 09 March, 2012

Validation of Landauer's principle

Results of an experiment that validates an important principle for information theory and computer science are published in Nature this week. NIM member Eric Lutz and his colleagues show that erasing information produces heat, as predicted by Rolf Landauer fifty years ago, and demonstrates the intimate link between information theory and thermodynamics.

Landauer's principle applies thermodynamic reasoning to information processing and states that any logically irreversible transformation, such as the deletion of a classical bit of information, dissipates heat. Experimental validation of Landauer's erasure principle has been difficult to achieve, owing to the difficulty of realizing single-particle experiments with low heat dissipation.

Eric Lutz and colleagues now overcome such difficulties, using an optically trapped silicon bead as a generic model of a one-bit memory. They measure the average heat dissipated over many erasure cycles, showing that it converges to (but never exceeds) the limit set by Landauer's principle. (Source: Nature press office)

"Experimental verification of Landauer’s principle linking information and thermodynamics"
Antoine Bérut, Artak Arakelyan, Artyom Petrosyan, Sergio Ciliberto, Raoul Dillenschneider and Eric Lutz. Nature 483, 187–189


Dr. Eric Lutz
Department of Physics
University of Augsburg
D-86135 Augsburg
Tel:+49 (0)821 598 3218
Fax:+49 (0)821 598 3222


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Opens window for sending emailpeter.sonntag(at)lmu.de 


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