Thermodynamic uncertainty relations for coherently driven open quantum systems

Paul Menczel*, Eetu Loisa, Kay Brandner, Christian Flindt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In classical Markov jump processes, current fluctuations can only be reduced at the cost of increased dissipation. To explore how quantum effects influence this trade-off, we analyze the uncertainty of steady-state currents in Markovian open quantum systems. We first consider three instructive examples and then systematically minimize the product of uncertainty and entropy production for small open quantum systems. As our main result, we find that the thermodynamic cost of reducing fluctuations can be lowered below the classical bound by coherence. We conjecture that this cost can be made arbitrarily small in quantum systems with sufficiently many degrees of freedom. Our results thereby provide a general guideline for the design of thermal machines in the quantum regime that operate with high thermodynamic precision, meaning low dissipation and small fluctuations around average values.

Original languageEnglish
Article number314002
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • open quantum systems
  • quantum thermodynamics
  • nonequilibrium systems
  • fluctuations and noise
  • thermodynamic uncertainty relations
  • global optimization


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