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A quantum-dot heat engine operating close to the thermodynamic efficiency limits

Josefsson, Martin LU ; Svilans, Artis LU ; Burke, Adam M. LU ; Hoffmann, Eric A.; Fahlvik, Sofia; Thelander, Claes LU ; Leijnse, Martin LU and Linke, Heiner LU (2018) In Nature Nanotechnology
Abstract

Cyclical heat engines are a paradigm of classical thermodynamics, but are impractical for miniaturization because they rely on moving parts. A more recent concept is particle-exchange (PE) heat engines, which uses energy filtering to control a thermally driven particle flow between two heat reservoirs1,2. As they do not require moving parts and can be realized in solid-state materials, they are suitable for low-power applications and miniaturization. It was predicted that PE engines could reach the same thermodynamically ideal efficiency limits as those accessible to cyclical engines3–6, but this prediction has not been verified experimentally. Here, we demonstrate a PE heat engine based on a quantum dot (QD)... (More)

Cyclical heat engines are a paradigm of classical thermodynamics, but are impractical for miniaturization because they rely on moving parts. A more recent concept is particle-exchange (PE) heat engines, which uses energy filtering to control a thermally driven particle flow between two heat reservoirs1,2. As they do not require moving parts and can be realized in solid-state materials, they are suitable for low-power applications and miniaturization. It was predicted that PE engines could reach the same thermodynamically ideal efficiency limits as those accessible to cyclical engines3–6, but this prediction has not been verified experimentally. Here, we demonstrate a PE heat engine based on a quantum dot (QD) embedded into a semiconductor nanowire. We directly measure the engine’s steady-state electric power output and combine it with the calculated electronic heat flow to determine the electronic efficiency η. We find that at the maximum power conditions, η is in agreement with the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency6–9 and that the overall maximum η is in excess of 70% of the Carnot efficiency while maintaining a finite power output. Our results demonstrate that thermoelectric power conversion can, in principle, be achieved close to the thermodynamic limits, with direct relevance for future hot-carrier photovoltaics10, on-chip coolers or energy harvesters for quantum technologies.

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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Nature Nanotechnology
pages
5 pages
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85049975466
ISSN
1748-3387
DOI
10.1038/s41565-018-0200-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
cdfe0d57-d0ac-483c-bcf3-ba48c9a07018
date added to LUP
2018-08-01 10:31:36
date last changed
2018-09-23 04:58:41
@article{cdfe0d57-d0ac-483c-bcf3-ba48c9a07018,
  abstract     = {<p>Cyclical heat engines are a paradigm of classical thermodynamics, but are impractical for miniaturization because they rely on moving parts. A more recent concept is particle-exchange (PE) heat engines, which uses energy filtering to control a thermally driven particle flow between two heat reservoirs<sup>1,2</sup>. As they do not require moving parts and can be realized in solid-state materials, they are suitable for low-power applications and miniaturization. It was predicted that PE engines could reach the same thermodynamically ideal efficiency limits as those accessible to cyclical engines<sup>3–6</sup>, but this prediction has not been verified experimentally. Here, we demonstrate a PE heat engine based on a quantum dot (QD) embedded into a semiconductor nanowire. We directly measure the engine’s steady-state electric power output and combine it with the calculated electronic heat flow to determine the electronic efficiency η. We find that at the maximum power conditions, η is in agreement with the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency<sup>6–9</sup> and that the overall maximum η is in excess of 70% of the Carnot efficiency while maintaining a finite power output. Our results demonstrate that thermoelectric power conversion can, in principle, be achieved close to the thermodynamic limits, with direct relevance for future hot-carrier photovoltaics<sup>10</sup>, on-chip coolers or energy harvesters for quantum technologies.</p>},
  author       = {Josefsson, Martin and Svilans, Artis and Burke, Adam M. and Hoffmann, Eric A. and Fahlvik, Sofia and Thelander, Claes and Leijnse, Martin and Linke, Heiner},
  issn         = {1748-3387},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  pages        = {5},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Nanotechnology},
  title        = {A quantum-dot heat engine operating close to the thermodynamic efficiency limits},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0200-5},
  year         = {2018},
}