Heating without heat: Thermodynamics of passive energy filters between finite systems

R. Muñoz-Tapia, R. Brito, J. M.R. Parrondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


© 2017 American Physical Society. Passive filters allowing the exchange of particles in a narrow band of energy are currently used in microrefrigerators and energy transducers. In this Rapid Communication, we analyze their thermal properties using linear irreversible thermodynamics and kinetic theory, and discuss a striking phenomenon: the possibility of simultaneously increasing or decreasing the temperatures of two systems without any supply of energy. This occurs when the filter induces a flow of particles whose energy is between the average energies of the two systems. Here we show that this selective transfer of particles does not need the action of any sort of Maxwell demon and can be carried out by passive filters without compromising the second law of thermodynamics. This phenomenon allows us to design cycles between two reservoirs at temperatures T1<T2 that are able to reach temperatures below T1 or above T2.
Original languageEnglish
Article number030103
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2017


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