Information erasure without an energy cost
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Landauer argued that the process of erasing the information stored in a memory device incurs an energy cost in the form of a minimum amount of mechanical work. We find, however, that this energy cost can be reduced to zero by paying a cost in angular momentum or any other conserved quantity. Erasing the memory of Maxwell's demon in this way implies that work can be extracted from a single thermal reservoir at a cost of angular momentum and an increase in total entropy. The implications of this for the second law of thermodynamics are assessed.
Proceedings of the Royal Society A
© 2011 Royal Society. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Quantum Information, Computation and Communication
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics