Passivity, complete passivity, and virtual temperatures
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European Commisision's projectICFONEST - ICFONest International Postdoctoral Program (EC-FP7-267229)
We give a simple and intuitive proof that the only states which are completely passive, i.e., those states from which work cannot be extracted even with infinitely many copies, are Gibbs states at positive temperatures. The proof makes use of the idea of virtual temperatures, i.e., the association of temperatures to pairs of energy levels (transitions). We show that (1) passive states are those where every transition is at a positive temperature and (2) completely passive states are those where every transition is at the same positive temperature.