Reference : Maximum power and corresponding efficiency for two-level heat engines and refrigerato...
Scientific journals : Article
Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences : Physics
Physics and Materials Science
Maximum power and corresponding efficiency for two-level heat engines and refrigerators: optimality of fast cycles
Erdman, Paolo Andrea []
Cavina, Vasco mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM) > Department of Physics and Materials Science (DPHYMS) >]
Fazio, Rosario []
Taddei, Fabio []
Giovannetti, Vittorio []
New Journal of Physics
Institute of Physics Publishing
United Kingdom
[en] We study how to achieve the ultimate power in the simplest, yet non-trivial, model of a thermal machine, namely a two-level quantum system coupled to two thermal baths. Without making any prior assumption on the protocol, via optimal control we show that, regardless of the microscopic details and of the operating mode of the thermal machine, the maximum power is universally achieved by a fast Otto-cycle like structure in which the controls are rapidly switched between two extremal values. A closed formula for the maximum power is derived, and finite-speed effects are discussed. We also analyze the associated efficiency at maximum power showing that, contrary to universal results derived in the slow-driving regime, it can approach Carnot's efficiency, no other universal bounds being allowed.

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