The Quantum Refrigerator
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.