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Jakub Czartowski, A. de Oliveira Junior (Mar 11 2024).

Abstract: What are the fundamental limits and advantages of using a catalyst to aid thermodynamic transformations between quantum systems? In this work, we answer this question by focusing on transformations between energy-incoherent states under the most general energy-conserving interactions among the system, the catalyst, and a thermal environment. The sole constraint is that the catalyst must return unperturbed and uncorrelated with the other subsystems. More precisely, we first characterise the set of states to which a given initial state can thermodynamically evolve (the catalysable future) or from which it can evolve (the catalysable past) with the help of a strict catalyst. Secondly, we derive lower bounds on the dimensionality required for the existence of catalysts under thermal process, along with bounds on the catalyst’s state preparation. Finally, we quantify the catalytic advantage in terms of the volume of the catalysable future and demonstrate its utility in an exemplary task of generating entanglement using thermal resources.

Arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/2403.04845