Thermodynamics emerged as a phenomenological theory boosted by the need to control and enhance the performances of the newly invented steam engines during the industrial revolution.
The recent achievements of modern nanotechnologies introduced the necessity to control the system at length scales where quantum effects need to be taken into account. In this context the measurement of temperature plays a fundamental role.
In a research just published in Nature Communication a collaboration between ICTP and Scuola Normale Superiore propose a quantum-metrology approach to thermodynamics. In the specific the authors introduce a sort of mesoscopic version of the heat capacity which rigorously quantifies the highest achievable accuracy for estimating the temperature of a quantum system at thermal equilibrium solely through local measurements.
The results arising from these studies could be exploited in the development of quantum thermal machines, where a robust level of control is required, or in other contexts related for instance to biology and medicine.
For more details please refer to the publication:
Antonella De Pasquale, Davide Rossini, Rosario Fazio & Vittorio Giovannetti