Maxwell’s Demon in Photonic Systems

  • Luca Mancino
  • Mario A. Ciampini
  • Mihai D. Vidrighin
  • Marco Sbroscia
  • Ilaria Gianani
  • Marco BarbieriEmail author
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 195)


Photons are massless, noninteracting particles, and thermodynamics seems to be completely inappropriate in their description. Here we present two examples of the opposite: connecting thermodynamics with information through Maxwell’s Demon provides interesting insight on properties of light fields. This does not amount to directly applying thermodynamics to photons, but rather helps to obtain tools and concepts from thermodynamics to manipulate and evaluate the information content of light. The examples presented here pinpoint some of the challenges that arise when putting a thought experiment into practice and provide new insights into the relation between thermodynamic work and information.



We thank Mauro Paternostro, Paolo Mataloni, Oscar Dahlsten, Ian Walmsley, M.S Kim, Vlatko Vedral, Emanuele Roccia and Valeria Cimini for discussion and encouragement.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luca Mancino
    • 1
  • Mario A. Ciampini
    • 2
  • Mihai D. Vidrighin
    • 3
  • Marco Sbroscia
    • 1
  • Ilaria Gianani
    • 1
  • Marco Barbieri
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di ScienzeUniversità degli Studi Roma TreRomeItaly
  2. 2.Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information, Faculty of PhysicsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Formerly at Imperial College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Istituto Nazionale di Ottica - CNRFlorenceItaly

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