Nonequilibrium fluctuations in quantum heat engines: theory, example, and possible solid state experiments

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Michele Campisi, Jukka Pekola, and Rosario Fazio


New J. Phys. 17 035012 (2015)

We study the stochastic energetic exchanges in quantum heat engines. Due to microreversibility, these obey a fluctuation relation, called the heat engine fluctuation relation, which implies the Carnot bound: no machine can have an efficiency larger than Carnot's efficiency. The stochastic thermodynamics of a quantum heat engine (including the joint statistics of heat and work and the statistics of efficiency) is illustrated by means of an optimal two-qubit heat engine, where each qubit is coupled to a thermal bath and a two-qubit gate determines energy exchanges between the two qubits. We discuss possible solid state implementations with Cooper pair boxes and flux qubits, quantum gate operations, and fast calorimetric on-chip measurements of single stochastic events.