Nonequilibrium fluctuations in quantum heat engines: Theory, example, and possible solid state experiments

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Research units

  • CNR
  • Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa


We study stochastic energetic exchanges in quantum heat engines. Due to microreversibility, these obey a fluctuation relation, called the heat engine fluctuation relation, which implies the Carnot bound: no machine can have an efficiency greater than Carnot's efficiency. The stochastic thermodynamics of a quantum heat engine (including the joint statistics of heat and work and the statistics of efficiency) are illustrated by means of an optimal two-qubit heat engine, where each qubit is coupled to a thermal bath and a two-qubit gate determines energy exchanges between the two qubits. We discuss possible solid-state implementations with Cooper-pair boxes and flux qubits, quantum gate operations, and fast calorimetric on-chip measurements of single stochastic events.


Original languageEnglish
Article number035012
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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