Optimal Probabilistic Work Extraction beyond the Free Energy Difference with a Single-Electron Device

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • National Enterprise for nanoScience and nanoTechnology
  • CNR-ENEA-EURATOM Association
  • University of Maryland, College Park


We experimentally realize protocols that allow us to extract work beyond the free energy difference from a single-electron transistor at the single thermodynamic trajectory level. With two carefully designed out-of-equilibrium driving cycles featuring kicks of the control parameter, we demonstrate work extraction up to large fractions of kBT or with probabilities substantially greater than 1/2, despite the zero free energy difference over the cycle. Our results are explained in the framework of nonequilibrium fluctuation relations. We thus show that irreversibility can be used as a resource for optimal work extraction even in the absence of feedback from an external operator.


Original languageEnglish
Article number150604
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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