Power and efficiency of a thermal engine with a coherent bath

Thomas Guff, Shakib Daryanoosh, Ben Q. Baragiola, Alexei Gilchrist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We consider a quantum engine driven by repeated weak interactions with a heat bath of identical three-level atoms. This model was first introduced by Scully et al. [Science 299, 862 (2003)SCIEAS0036-807510.1126/science.1078955], who showed that coherence between the energy-degenerate ground states serves as a thermodynamic resource that allows operation of a thermal cycle with a coherence-dependent thermalization temperature. We consider a similar engine out of the quasistatic limit and find that the ground-state coherence also determines the rate of thermalization, therefore increasing the output power and the engine efficiency only when the thermalization temperature is reduced; revealing a more nuanced perspective of coherence as a resource. This allows us to optimize the output power by adjusting the coherence and relative stroke durations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number032129
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2019


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