Volume 120, Number 1, October 2017
|Number of page(s)
|18 December 2017
When is a quantum heat engine quantum?
Department of Physics, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg - D-91058 Erlangen, Germany
Received: 21 September 2017
Accepted: 20 November 2017
Quantum thermodynamics studies quantum effects in thermal machines. Both quantum coherence and quantum correlations have been theoretically shown to be a physical resource able to boost their performance. But when is a heat engine, which cyclically interacts with external reservoirs that unavoidably destroy its phase coherence, really quantum? We here use the Leggett-Garg inequality to assess the nonclassical properties of a paradigmatic two-level Otto engine with quantum friction. We provide the complete phase diagram characterizing the quantumness of the engine as a function of its parameters and distinguish three different phases: a quantum phase separated from a classical phase by a transition regime. We further derive an analytical expression for the quantum-to-classical transition temperature.
PACS: 03.65.-w – Quantum mechanics / 05.70.-a – Thermodynamics
© EPLA, 2017
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