Thermodynamic Geometry of Microscopic Heat Engines

Kay Brandner, Keiji Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)
328 Downloads (Pure)


We develop a general framework to describe the thermodynamics of microscopic heat engines driven by arbitrary periodic temperature variations and modulations of a mechanical control parameter. Within the slow-driving regime, our approach leads to a universal trade-off relation between efficiency and power, which follows solely from geometric arguments and holds for any thermodynamically consistent microdynamics. Focusing on Lindblad dynamics, we derive a second bound showing that coherence as a genuine quantum effect inevitably reduces the performance of slow engine cycles regardless of the driving amplitudes. To show how our theory can be applied in practice, we work out a specific example, which lies within the range of current solid-state technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number040602
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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