From the same journal

From the same journal

The geometry of passivity for quantum systems and a novel elementary derivation of the Gibbs state

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Nikolaos Koukoulekidis
  • Rhea Alexander
  • Tom Hebdige
  • David Jennings


Publication details

DateAccepted/In press - 26 Feb 2021
DatePublished (current) - 15 Mar 2021
Number of pages24
Original languageEnglish


Passivity is a fundamental concept that constitutes a necessary condition for any quantum system to attain thermodynamic equilibrium, and for a notion of temperature to emerge. While extensive work has been done that exploits this, the transition from passivity at a single-shot level to the completely passive Gibbs state is technically clear but lacks a good over-arching intuition. Here, we reformulate passivity for quantum systems in purely geometric terms. This description makes the emergence of the Gibbs state from passive states entirely transparent. Beyond clarifying existing results, it also provides novel analysis for non-equilibrium quantum systems. We show that, to every passive state, one can associate a simple convex shape in a 2-dimensional plane, and that the area of this shape measures the degree to which the system deviates from the manifold of equilibrium states. This provides a novel geometric measure of athermality with relations to both ergotropy and β-athermality.

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