Quantum simulation of thermodynamics in an integrated quantum photonic processor

Frank Somhorst, Reinier van der Meer, Malaquias Correa Anguita, Riko Schadow, Henk J. Snijders, M. de Goede, Ben Kassenberg, Pim Venderbosch, Caterina Taballione, Jörn Epping, Hans van den Vlekkert, Jardi Timmerhuis, Jacob F. F. Bulmer, Jasleen Lugani, Ian A. Walmsley, Pepijn W.H. Pinkse, Jens Eisert*, Nathan Walk*, Jelmer Jan Renema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


One of the core questions of quantum physics is how to reconcile the unitary evolution of quantum states, which is information-preserving and time-reversible, with evolution following the second law of thermodynamics, which, in general, is neither. The resolution to this paradox is to recognize that global unitary evolution of a multi-partite quantum state causes the state of local subsystems to evolve towards maximum-entropy states. In this work, we experimentally demonstrate this effect in linear quantum optics by simultaneously showing the convergence of local quantum states to a generalized Gibbs ensemble constituting a maximum-entropy state under precisely controlled conditions, while introducing an efficient certification method to demonstrate that the state retains global purity. Our quantum states are manipulated by a programmable integrated quantum photonic processor, which simulates arbitrary non-interacting Hamiltonians, demonstrating the universality of this phenomenon. Our results show the potential of photonic devices for quantum simulations involving non-Gaussian states.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3895
Number of pages10
JournalNature communications
Early online date1 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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