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Information erasure without an energy cost

Vaccaro, Joan A. and Barnett, Stephen M. (2011) Information erasure without an energy cost. Proceedings A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 467 (2130). pp. 1770-1778. ISSN 1364-5021

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Abstract

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.