The Quantum-Steampunk Laboratory Theoretical-physics research group of Nicole Yunger Halpern

Thermodynamics emerged during the 1800s to describe large, classical systems, such as steam engines, and equilibrium. Quantum, small classical, and far-from-equilibrium systems dominate much of today’s science, from quantum computers to molecules. Nineteenth-century thermodynamics—including concepts such as heat work, and efficiency—needs updating for the 21st century.

We re-envision thermodynamics using the mathematical tools of quantum information theory. We then use quantum thermodynamics to gain a new perspective on problems across science, including atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics; condensed matter; chemistry; high-energy physics; and biophysics.

Our group is theoretical, collaborative, and interdisciplinary. Our research ranges from abstract theory and foundations to experimental collaborations and applications.