SciPost Phys. 7, 079 (2019) ·
published 10 December 2019
The static patch of de Sitter spacetime and the Rindler wedge of Minkowski spacetime are causal diamonds admitting a true Killing field, and they behave as thermodynamic equilibrium states under gravitational perturbations. We explore the extension of this gravitational thermodynamics to all causal diamonds in maximally symmetric spacetimes. Although such diamonds generally admit only a conformal Killing vector, that seems in all respects to be sufficient. We establish a Smarr formula for such diamonds and a ``first law" for variations to nearby solutions. The latter relates the variations of the bounding area, spatial volume of the maximal slice, cosmological constant, and matter Hamiltonian. The total Hamiltonian is the generator of evolution along the conformal Killing vector that preserves the diamond. To interpret the first law as a thermodynamic relation,
it appears necessary to attribute a negative temperature to the diamond, as has been previously suggested for the special case of the static patch of de Sitter spacetime. With quantum corrections included, for small diamonds
we recover the ``entanglement equilibrium'' result that the generalized entropy is stationary at the maximally symmetric vacuum at fixed volume, and we reformulate this as
the stationarity of free conformal energy with the volume not fixed.