Nondestructively probing the thermodynamics of quantum systems with qumodes
Elliott TJ., Gu M., Thompson J., Liu N.
Quantum systems are by their very nature fragile. The fundamental backaction on a state due to quantum measurement notwithstanding, there is also in practice often a destruction of the system itself due to the means of measurement. This becomes acutely problematic when we wish to make measurements of the same system at multiple times, or generate a large quantity of measurement statistics. One approach to circumventing this is the use of ancillary probes that couple to the system under investigation, and through their interaction, enable properties of the primary system to be imprinted onto and inferred from the ancillae. Here we highlight means by which continuous variable quantum modes (qumodes) can be employed to probe the thermodynamics of quantum systems in and out of equilibrium, including thermometry, reconstruction of the partition function, and reversible and irreversible work. We illustrate application of our results with the example of a spin-1/2 system in a transverse field.