Quantum thermal machines

Quantum mechanics has enabled fascinating advances in fundamental and applied science in the past decades, from quantum computation to the miniaturisation of technologies and the detection of gravitational waves. Within the research field of quantum thermodynamics, one main question is whether quantum mechanics clearly provides an advantage for operating nanoscale thermal machines.

With this collaborative research grant, we want to take a concrete step towards this goal by investigating the time-resolved dynamics of a thermal machine that generates quantum correlations. The model of the device comprises two artificial atoms placed within a cavity. Remarkably, this device is highly versatile, being a promising platform for quantum thermal machines but also a building block for quantum computation. By analysing the dynamics of the electro-magnetic field leaving the cavity within the framework of stochastic thermodynamics, we will determine 1) the energetic quantities associated with the functioning of this quantum machine, and 2) whether this field carries information about the presence of quantum correlations. The experimental feasibility of this device will be assessed based on these results, providing key insights about nanoscale heat managing and energetic costs of quantum computations.

The Exeter and Geneva lead applicants are internationally recognised specialists in quantum thermodynamics theory with a complementary expertise that will benefit this project. The project will involve two newly recruited members of staff and two existing PhD students from either side. The project will allow the two internationally visible groups to team up, establish collaborations and do ground work for lager future research projects.


Dr Géraldine Haack, University of Geneva, Department of Physics

Shishir Khandelwal, University of Geneva, Department of Physics

Prof. Nicolas Brunner, University of Geneva, Department of Physics

Prof. Janet Anders, University of Exeter, Department of Physics

Dr Luis Correa, University of Exeter, Department of Physics

Stefano Scali, University of Exeter, Department of Physics