QUANTUM HEAT ENGINES AND REFRIGERATORS

00:00 01-05-2007

The unavoidable irreversible loss of power  in  a  heat
engine  is found to be of quantum origin.  Following thermodynamic
tradition a model quantum heat engine operating  in  an Otto cycle
is analysed.  When  the  engine deviates from adiabatic conditions
the  performance  is  subject  to  friction.  The origin  of  this
friction can be traced to the noncommutability of  the kinetic and
potential energy of the working medium. The scaling of the cooling
power of a reciprocating quantum refrigerator is sought as a func-
tion of the cold bath temperature.  When the working medium Hamil-
tonian contains  an  uncontrolled internal  coupling,  the cooling
power vanishes exponentially.  If  the internal energy gap can  be
made  to  follow  the  cold  bath  temperature  the  cooling power
vanishes at least as T_c^3

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