Theoretical Physics Seminar: Dr Gabriele De Chiara (CTAMOP, Belfast)

Quantum Thermodynamics: Fluctuation theorems and small engines

Abstract: The study of out-of-equilibrium quantum thermodynamics has received a significant thrust thanks to the experimental advances in the control and manipulation of microscopic systems. Work, heat and entropy, ubiquitous concepts in traditional thermodynamics, assume in this context the role of stochastic variables. Their fluctuations can be ingeniously related, through fluctuation theorems, to equilibrium properties, as is the case of the celebrated Jarzynski equality. In this talk, I will revise these concepts and discuss experimental schemes and realisations to directly measure work, heat and entropy in quantum systems.

In the second part of the seminar I will present designs of small quantum thermal machines using a few spins or harmonic oscillators. This is the ideal context to investigate the effects of quantum correlations, for example entanglement and discord, on the performance of such quantum engines.