Volume 88, Number 5, December 2009
Article Number 50003
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 16 December 2009
EPL, 88 (2009) 50003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/88/50003

Energetics of quantum correlations

R. Dillenschneider and E. Lutz

Department of Physics, University of Augsburg - D-86135 Augsburg, Germany, EU

received 24 June 2009; accepted in final form 16 November 2009; published December 2009
published online 16 December 2009

We consider a photo-Carnot engine that consists of a single-mode radiation field in an optical cavity. One the heat reservoirs is made of a beam of thermally entangled pairs of two-level atoms that interact resonantly with the cavity. We express the thermodynamic efficiency of the engine in terms of the quantum discord of the atomic pair and find that it can exceed its classical value. Our results show that useful work can be extracted from quantum correlations, indicating that the latter are a valuable resource in quantum thermodynamics.

03.67.-a - Quantum information.
05.70.-a - Thermodynamics.
03.65.Yz - Decoherence; open systems; quantum statistical methods.

© EPLA 2009