Inconsistency between Thermodynamics and Probabilistic Quantum Processes
We have developed a Gedankenexperiment that reveals an inconsistency between quantum theory and thermodynamics. The experiment, which may also be practically performed, introduces an interferometer coupled to a collection of two-level systems that absorb and emit radiation statistically. The experiment therefore combines coherent superposition of wave functions with the probabilistic description of absorption and emission processes. We show that this combination of coherence and collapse forces an isolated system to reduce its total entropy, starting from standard, thermodynamic equilibrium. The Gedankenexperiment demonstrates that the basic constituents of quantum physics, namely coherence and probabilistic events, contradict the basic constituent of thermodynamics, the second law.