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      Fluctuation theorems for non-Markovian quantum processes


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          Exploiting previous results on Markovian dynamics and fluctuation theorems, we study the consequences of memory effects on single realizations of nonequilibrium processes within an open system approach. The entropy production along single trajectories for forward and backward processes is obtained with the help of a recently proposed classical-like non-Markovian stochastic unravelling, which is demonstrated to lead to a correction of the standard entropic fluctuation theorem. This correction is interpreted as resulting from the interplay between the information extracted from the system through measurements and the flow of information from the environment to the open system: Due to memory effects single realizations of a dynamical process are no longer independent, and their correlations fundamentally affect the behavior of entropy fluctuations.

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          Experimental control of the transition from Markovian to non-Markovian dynamics of open quantum systems

          Realistic quantum mechanical systems are always exposed to an external environment. The presence of the environment often gives rise to a Markovian process in which the system loses information to its surroundings. However, many quantum systems exhibit a pronounced non-Markovian behavior in which there is a flow of information from the environment back to the system, signifying the presence of quantum memory effects [1-5]. The environment is usually composed of a large number of degrees of freedom which are difficult to control, but some sophisticated schemes for modifying the environment have been developed [6]. The physical realization and control of dynamical processes in open quantum systems plays a decisive role, for example, in recent proposals for the generation of entangled states [7-9], for schemes of dissipative quantum computation [10], for the design of quantum memories [11] and for the enhancement of the efficiency in quantum metrology [12]. Here we report an experiment which allows through selective preparation of the initial environmental states to drive the open system from the Markovian to the non-Markovian regime, to control the information flow between the system and the environment, and to determine the degree of non-Markovianity by direct measurements on the open system.

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            08 January 2013


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            7 pages, 1 figure
            cond-mat.stat-mech quant-ph


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