Advances in micro- and nano-technology allow for testing concepts derived from classical thermodynamics in regimes where the underlying assumptions, such as the thermodynamic limit and thermal equilibrium, no longer hold. Single-particle heat machines provide an excellent platform to test theoretical advances in and our understanding of thermodynamics at the micro- and nano-scale. In this project, a minimalist heat engine has been realized that takes advantage of squeezed heat to outperform conventional heat engines. The non-equilibrium nature of these reservoirs permit work extraction from a single reservoir and engine efficiencies unbounded by the standard Carnot limit. A major open question remains whether highly miniaturized heat engines will be able to use the extracted work to accomplish mesoscopic tasks as transporting particles or manipulating biological matter.

Key publications

  • J. Klaers, S. Faelt, A. Imamoglu, and E. Togan, “Squeezed thermal reservoirs as a resource for a nano-mechanical heat engine beyond the Carnot limit”, Physical Review X 7, 031044 (2017). link
  • J. Klaers, “Landauer’s erasure principle in a squeezed thermal memory”, arXiv:1809.02429 (2018). link