Quantum refrigerators – the quantum thermodynamics of cooling Bose gases
This is a Perspective on "Quantized refrigerator for an atomic cloud" by Wolfgang Niedenzu, Igor Mazets, Gershon Kurizki, and Fred Jendrzejewski, published in Quantum 3, 155 (2019).
By Sebastian Deffner (University of Maryland Baltimore County).
|Published:||2019-08-13, volume 3, page 20|
|Citation:||Quantum Views 3, 20 (2019)|
We are living in exciting times. All around the globe national as well as international entities have founded “quantum initiatives”, whose goal is the development of practical and commercially available quantum technologies. Typically, quantum technologies are categorized into the three areas of quantum communication, quantum sensing, and quantum computing . However, this categorization somewhat overlooks an even more promising and important arena for technological revolutions: quantum thermodynamic devices .
Although it is somewhat debatable whether quantum features are always a blessing, or whether they can be detrimental to the thermodynamic performance , it has long been clear that carefully designed quantum device can do things classical devices cannot, see e.g. Refs. [4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13]. A latest addition to such potential “quantum supremacy” of thermodynamic devices is the cleverly designed quantum refrigerator by Niedenzu et al., that was published recently in “Quantized refrigerator for an atomic cloud” .
More specifically, Niedenzu et al.  propose to utilize the quantum Otto cycle to cool cold atomic gases, and in particular to cool a Bose gas below the critical point to undergo a BEC phase transition. The thermal machine is suggested to be made of two atomic species that act as hot and cold bath, respectively. This is quite remarkable since more conventional means of cooling are typically not capable of easily cooling the BEC into the deeply degenerate quantum regime .
Admittedly, using standard thermodynamic cycles to cool two-atomic gases is not necessarily a novel idea, which can be found in many standard textbooks . However, Niedenzu et al.’s work stands out, since the highly idealized situation of a quantum Otto cycle is carefully studied under experimentally relevant parameters. In particular, the authors analyze thoroughly the assumptions, approximations, and limits under which the theoretical proposal could be implemented in a real experiment. On a more theoretical side, the development of such technologies opens the avenue to experimental study of so far under explored regimes, where the Born-Markov approximations break down. This regime could harbor exciting ramifications for the thermodynamic properties of deeply quantum devices.
Such experimentally motivated studies are invaluable for the progress of research in Quantum Thermodynamics . If the power of quantum thermodynamic universality shall be brought down from its lofty heights to the harsh facts of industrial reality, we will will need more work like the one by Niedenzu et al. . Therefore, Ref.  could be considered an essential step towards the development of realistic and practical quantum refrigerators with potentially commercial applications.
► BibTeX data
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