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The Quantum Refrigerator

Quantum field refrigerator: similar to canonical ideas employed in ordinary thermal machines, we consider for a quantum many-body system a cycle consisting of a small set of control operations on quantum working fluids, concatenated in order to cool

Quantum field refrigerator: similar to canonical ideas employed in ordinary thermal machines, we consider for a quantum many-body system a cycle consisting of a small set of control operations on quantum working fluids, concatenated in order to cool
Image Credit: AG Eisert

An international research team including physicists of the Freie Universität Berlin has invented a completely new cooling concept: Computer simulations show how quantum fields could be used to break low-temperature records.

News from Aug 16, 2021

Researchers from the TU Wien, Freie Universität Berlin and the scientific institutions in Singapore, Lisbon and Vienna invented a new cooling concept that is based on quantum physics and introduced a blueprint of quantum field machines. The study has been published in the journal „PRX Quantum“.

Scientists provided a detailed proposal of how to realize a quantum machine in one-dimensional ultracold atomic gases using a set of modular operations giving rise to a piston. These can then be coupled sequentially to thermal baths, with the innovation that a quantum field takes up the role of the working fluid. In particular, physicists proposed models for compression on the system to use it as a piston and coupling to a bath that gives rise to a valve controlling heat flow.

By composing the numerically modelled operational primitives, the research team designed complete quantum thermodynamic cycles that are shown to enable cooling and hence giving rise to a quantum field refrigerator. The active cooling achieved in this way can operate in regimes where existing cooling methods become ineffective.

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