Contributions from populations and coherences in non-equilibrium entropy production
Published 2021-02-22Version 1
The entropy produced when a quantum system is driven away from equilibrium can be decomposed in two parts, one related with populations and the other with quantum coherences. The latter is usually based on the so-called relative entropy of coherence, a widely used quantifier in quantum resource theories. In this paper we argue that, despite satisfying fluctuation theorems and having a clear resource-theoretic interpretation, this splitting has shortcomings. In particular, we find that at low temperatures it predicts the entropy production is completely dominated by the classical term, even though quantum effects become more relevant in this regime. To amend for this, we provide an alternative splitting of the entropy production, in which the contributions from populations and coherences are written in terms of a thermal state of a specially dephased Hamiltonian. The physical interpretation of our proposal is discussed in detail. We also contrast the two approaches by studying work protocols in a transverse field Ising chain and a macrospin of varying dimension.