© 2016, Sociedade Brasileira de Física. We present a study of the performance of endoreversible thermal machines optimized with respect to the thermodynamic force associated with the cold bath in the regime of small thermodynamic forces. These thermal machines can work either as an engine or as a refrigerator. We analyze how the optimal performances are determined by the dependence of the thermodynamic flux on the forces. The results are motivated and illustrated with a quantum model, the three level maser, and explicit analytical expressions of the engine efficiency as a function of the system parameters are given.
- Quantum thermodynamics