Europhys. Lett.
Volume 75, Number 1, July 2006
Page(s) 22 - 28
Section General
Published online 02 June 2006
Europhys. Lett., 75 (1), pp. 22-28 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10080-2

A heat pump at a molecular scale controlled by a mechanical force

Naoko Nakagawa1 and Teruhisa S. Komatsu2

1  College of Science, Ibaraki University - Mito 310-8512, Japan
2  Department of Physics, Gakushuin University - Mejiro, Tokyo 171-8588, Japan

received 23 February 2006; accepted in final form 11 May 2006
published online 2 June 2006

We show that a mesoscopic system such as Feynman's ratchet may operate as a heat pump, and clarify underlying physical picture. We consider a system of a particle moving along an asymmetric periodic structure. When put into contact with two distinct heat baths of equal temperature, the system transfers heat between two baths as the particle is dragged. We examine Onsager relation for the heat flow and the particle flow, and show that the reciprocity coefficient is a product of the characteristic heat and the diffusion constant of the particle. The characteristic heat is the heat transfer between the baths associated with a barrier-overcoming process. Because of the correlation between the heat flow and the particle flow, the system can work as a heat pump when the particle is dragged. This pump is particularly effective at molecular scales where the energy barrier is of the order of the thermal energy.

05.40.-a - Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion.
05.60.Cd - Classical transport.
05.70.Ln - Nonequilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics.

© EDP Sciences 2006