Holographic Heat Engines, Entanglement Entropy, and Renormalization Group Flow
Published 2018-06-13Version 1
We explore a fruitful connection between the physics of conformal field theories (CFTs) in d-dimensional Minkowski spacetime and the extended gravitational thermodynamics of hyperbolic black holes in (d+1)-dimensional anti--de Sitter spacetime. The CFTs are reduced on a region bounded by a sphere. We show that Renormalization Group (RG) flows between CFTs are specific thermodynamic processes in the (p,V) plane, where the irreversibility of coarse--graining flows from the UV to the IR corresponds to the Second Law of thermodynamics, preventing heat from flowing from low temperature to high. We observe that holographic heat engines using the black holes as a working substance correspond to specific combinations of CFT flows and deformations. We construct three special engines whose net heat and work can be described in terms of changes of entanglement entropy across the sphere. Engine efficiencies emerge as simple functions of the ratio of the number of degrees of freedom of two CFTs.