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Quantum fluctuation theorems, contextuality and work quasi-probabilities

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We discuss the role of contextuality within quantum fluctuation theorems, in the light of a recent no-go result by Perarnau et al. We show that any fluctuation theorem reproducing the two-point measurement scheme for classical states either admits a notion of work quasi-probability or fails to describe protocols exhibiting contextuality.

Conversely, we describe a protocol that smoothly interpolates between the two-point measurement work distribution for projective measurements and Allahverdyan's work quasi-probability for weak measurements, and show that the negativity of the latter is a direct signature of contextuality.