This is a step further than the experiment I posted on previously (mentioned in the article) that used information to do work. Here information is converted into energy. The story is at

You can follow the references to the original paper. It is at

From the news article:
Imagine two boxes of particles with trap door between them. You want to use the trap door to guide the faster particles into one box and the slower particles into the other. In a classical experiment you would have to measure the particles in both boxes to do this experiment.

But things are different if the particles in one box are entangled with the particles in the other. In that case, measurements on the particles in one box give you info about both sets of particles.

In essence, you're getting information for nothing. And since you can convert that information into energy, there is clear advantage when entanglement plays a role.

That's hugely significant. It means that the laws of thermodynamics depend not only on classical phenomenon and information but on quantum effects too. The breakthrough that Funo and co make is to extend the theory to take this into account. "We show that entangled states can be used to extract thermodynamic work beyond classical correlation," they say.

That will have important implications for all kinds of phenomenon, from black holes and astrobiology to quantum chemistry and nanomachines.

Now the race will be on to see who can measure it first.

The result is not surprising, if you accept that information can exist as a purely physical phenomenon, and also accept quantum information (see work by Seth Lloyd, e.g). Both assumptions are common in basic physics. If you think that information must have meaning, or that it must at least be representational, you are going to have trouble understanding this work.


Professor John Collier                           
Philosophy and Ethics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4041 South Africa
T: +27 (31) 260 3248 / 260 2292       F: +27 (31) 260 3031

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