Volume 121, Number 6, March 2018
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||16 May 2018|
Extracting maximum power from active colloidal heat engines
1 DAMTP, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge - Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA, UK
2 Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, MSC, UMR 7057 CNRS - 75205 Paris, France
3 Service de Physique de l'État Condensé, CNRS UMR 3680, CEA-Saclay - 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Received: 5 March 2018
Accepted: 24 April 2018
Colloidal heat engines extract power out of a fluctuating bath by manipulating a confined tracer. Considering a self-propelled tracer surrounded by a bath of passive colloids, we optimize the engine performances based on the maximum available power. Our approach relies on an adiabatic mean-field treatment of the bath particles which reduces the many-body description into an effective tracer dynamics. It leads us to reveal that, when operated at constant activity, an engine can only produce less maximum power than its passive counterpart. In contrast, the output power of an isothermal engine, operating with cyclic variations of the self-propulsion without any passive equivalent, exhibits an optimum in terms of confinement and activity. Direct numerical simulations of the microscopic dynamics support the validity of these results even beyond the mean-field regime, with potential relevance to the design of experimental engines.
PACS: 05.70.Ln – Nonequilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion / 82.70.Dd – Colloids
© EPLA, 2018
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