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Full Name: 
Thermodynamics of Mesoscopic Quantum Systems
Mauro Paternostro (UNI Belfast)


Running time: 
2014-01-01 - 2016-12-31

A quantum technology going beyond microscopic borders will be confronted with aspects of thermodynamics that are yet to be understood. This is important, both from a fundamental perspective and with a view to development of quantum devices. Here we propose a comprehensive research programme -- which we dub TherMiQ -- aimed at developing a general framework that brings together thermodynamics and the physics of mesoscopic open quantum systems. The programme builds on an active interplay between theoretical and experimental work. Specifically, we pursue three scientific lines:

1. To provide unambiguous definitions of thermodynamical quantities that are genuinely quantum.
2. To construct mesoscopic thermal engines able of realising heat, mass and entropy transport at the quantum level.
3. To test the foundations of quantum mechanics through thermodynamical concepts.
TherMiQ will provide the theoretical backbone for a new generation of experiments in mesoscopic systems. In particular, we will focus on

a) Entropic transformations and heat exchange processes in quantum-optomechanical devices and their hybridized versions comprising the interface with simple atomic systems and levitating nanoparticles;
b) The construction of thermodynamical cycles and super efficient machines using ultracold atoms placed in controllable optical potentials;
c) The design and implementation of schemes for thermometry of strongly correlated quantum systems through novel diagnostic tools.
Our programme will build on an information-theoretical approach and aims to provide a clear route towards the development of a self-consistent, experimentally viable apparatus for exploring and eventually exploiting quantum thermodynamics.