Facts and myths about zero-point thermal noise, and information entropy versus thermal entropy Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2017 IEEE. In this talk, we are briefly surveying our recent results [1-3] about two very popular yet often misunderstood concepts in physical informatics: (i) The existence of Johnson noise at near to absolute zero temperature has been debated many times yet it is generally accepted [1]. We point out the fundamental problems [2] with the particular approach the related quantum theories [4] of Fluctuation-Dissipation Theorem are using. Then we prove that the existence of zero-point noise would allow the construction of a perpetual motion machine [1]. Finally, we cite early works pointing out that the observed "zeropoint" noise in experiments [7] with phase-sensitive linear amplifiers is an amplifier-noise [5,6] due to the uncertainty principle, and it does not exist in the resistor in an objective way, independently from the measurement [1,2]. Thus a correct derivation of the Fluctuation-Dissipation Theorem must include [1] the type of experimental setup used for the measurement. (ii) The general opinion is that information entropy and thermal entropy are interchangeable. This belief triggered Brillouin's negentropy principle of information [8], and Landauer's claimed principle [9] about energy dissipation during information erasure that has been debated on many occasions [10-19]. Here we show the newest and perhaps the simplest arguments [3] proving that the two types of entropies are apples and oranges and are not interchangeable.

name of conference

  • 2017 International Conference on Noise and Fluctuations (ICNF)

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kish, L. B., Ferry, D. K., Niklasson, G. A., Smulko, J. M., & Granqvist, C. G.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Kish, LB||Ferry, DK||Niklasson, GA||Smulko, JM||Granqvist, CG

publication date

  • January 2017