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Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Nov 7;113(19):190601. Epub 2014 Nov 4.

High-precision test of Landauer's principle in a feedback trap.

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Department of Physics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada.


We confirm Landauer's 1961 hypothesis that reducing the number of possible macroscopic states in a system by a factor of 2 requires work of at least kTln2. Our experiment uses a colloidal particle in a time-dependent, virtual potential created by a feedback trap to implement Landauer's erasure operation. In a control experiment, similar manipulations that do not reduce the number of system states can be done reversibly. Erasing information thus requires work. In individual cycles, the work to erase can be below the Landauer limit, consistent with the Jarzynski equality.

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