Coherence-assisted single-shot cooling by quantum absorption refrigerators

Mark T. Mitchison, Mischa P. Woods, Javier Prior, Marcus Huber

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83 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The extension of thermodynamics into the quantum regime has received much attention in recent years. A primary objective of current research is to find thermodynamic tasks which can be enhanced by quantum mechanical effects. With this goal in mind, we explore the finite-time dynamics of absorption refrigerators composed of three quantum bits (qubits). The aim of this finite-time cooling is to reach low temperatures as fast as possible and subsequently extract the cold particle to exploit it for information processing purposes. We show that the coherent oscillations inherent to quantum dynamics can be harnessed to reach temperatures that are colder than the steady state in orders of magnitude less time, thereby providing a fast source of low-entropy qubits. This effect demonstrates that quantum thermal machines can surpass classical ones, reminiscent of quantum advantages in other fields, and is applicable to a broad range of technologically important scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115013
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2015


  • absorption refrigerator
  • heat engine
  • quantum coherence
  • quantum mechanics
  • thermodynamics

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