Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 145, Issue 6, pp 1458–1471 | Cite as

Violation of the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics for a Non-ergodic Interaction

  • B. Gaveau
  • L. S. Schulman


The phenomenon described by our title should surprise no one. What may be surprising though is how easy it is to produce a quantum system with this feature; moreover, that system is one that is often used for the purpose of showing how systems equilibrate. The violation can be variously manifested. In our detailed example, bringing a detuned 2-level system into contact with a monochromatic reservoir does not cause it to relax to the reservoir temperature; rather, the system acquires the reservoir’s level-occupation-ratio.


Quantum statistical mechanics Zeroth law of thermodynamics Non-equilibrium stationary state 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire analyse et physique mathématiqueParisFrance
  2. 2.Physics DepartmentClarkson UniversityPotsdamUSA

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