Feedback-controlled heat transport in quantum devices: Theory and solid-state experimental proposal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research units

  • Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
  • Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics


A theory of feedback-controlled heat transport in quantum systems is presented. It is based on modelling heat engines as driven multipartite systems subject to projective quantum measurements and measurement-conditioned unitary evolutions. The theory unifies various results presented previously in the literature. Feedback control breaks time reversal invariance. This in turn results in the fluctuation relation not being obeyed. Its restoration occurs through appropriate accounting of the gain and use of information via measurements and feedback. We further illustrate an experimental proposal for the realisation of a Maxwell demon using superconducting circuits and single-photon on-chip calorimetry. A two-level qubit acts as a trap-door, which, conditioned on its state, is coupled to either a hot resistor or a cold one. The feedback mechanism alters the temperatures felt by the qubit and can result in an effective inversion of temperature gradient, where heat flows from cold to hot thanks to the gain and use of information.


Original languageEnglish
Article number053027
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Maxwell demon, quantum thermodynamics, superconducting devices

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 14244181