Thermodynamics of Quantum Systems Under Dynamical Control

David Gelbwaser-Klimovsky, Wolfgang Niedenzu, Gershon Kurizki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In this review, the debated rapport between thermodynamics and quantum mechanics is addressed in the framework of the theory of periodically driven/controlled quantum-thermodynamic machines. The basic model studied here is that of a two-level system (TLS), whose energy is periodically modulated while the system is coupled to thermal baths. When the modulation interval is short compared to the bath memory time, the system-bath correlations are affected, thereby causing cooling or heating of the TLS, depending on the interval. In steady state, a periodically modulated TLS coupled to two distinct baths constitutes the simplest quantum heat machine (QHM) that may operate as either an engine or a refrigerator, depending on the modulation rate. We find their efficiency and power-output bounds and the conditions for attaining these bounds. An extension of this model to multilevel systems shows that the QHM power output can be boosted by the multilevel degeneracy.These results are used to scrutinize basic thermodynamic principles: (i) externally driven/modulated QHMs may attain the Carnot efficiency bound, but when the driving is done by a quantum device (piston), the efficiency strongly depends on its initial quantum state. Such dependence has been unknown thus far. (ii) The refrigeration rate effected by QHMs does not vanish as the temperature approaches absolute zero for certain quantized baths, e.g., magnons, thus challenging Nernst's unattainability principle. (iii) System-bath correlations allow more work extraction under periodic control than that expected from the Szilard-Landauer principle, provided the period is in the non-Markovian domain. Thus, dynamically controlled QHMs may benefit from hitherto unexploited thermodynamic resources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances In Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, 2015
EditorsChun C. Lin, Ennio Arimondo, Susanne F. Yelin
Number of pages79
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameAdvances in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics


  • Quantum control
  • Quantum heat engines
  • Quantum refrigerators
  • Quantum thermodynamics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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