Ultra-cold single-atom quantum heat engines

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We propose a scheme for a single-atom quantum heat engine based on ultra-cold atom technologies. Building on the high degree of control typical of cold atom systems, we demonstrate that three paradigmatic heat engines—Carnot, Otto and Diesel—are within reach of state-of-the-art technology, and their performances can be benchmarked experimentally. We discuss the implementation of these engines using realistic parameters and considering the friction effects that limit the maximum obtainable performances in real-life experiments. We further consider the use of super-adiabatic transformations that allow to extract a finite amount of power keeping maximum (real) efficiency, and consider the energetic cost of running such protocols.


Original languageEnglish
Article number063019
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2019