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Entropy 2016, 18(6), 208; doi:10.3390/e18060208

Quantum Coherent Three-Terminal Thermoelectrics: Maximum Efficiency at Given Power Output

Laboratoire de Physique et Modélisation des Milieux Condensés, UMR 5493 CNRS, Université de Grenoble, 38042 Grenoble, France
Academic Editor: Ronnie Kosloff
Received: 30 March 2016 / Revised: 17 May 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Thermodynamics)
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Abstract

This work considers the nonlinear scattering theory for three-terminal thermoelectric devices used for power generation or refrigeration. Such systems are quantum phase-coherent versions of a thermocouple, and the theory applies to systems in which interactions can be treated at a mean-field level. It considers an arbitrary three-terminal system in any external magnetic field, including systems with broken time-reversal symmetry, such as chiral thermoelectrics, as well as systems in which the magnetic field plays no role. It is shown that the upper bound on efficiency at given power output is of quantum origin and is stricter than Carnot’s bound. The bound is exactly the same as previously found for two-terminal devices and can be achieved by three-terminal systems with or without broken time-reversal symmetry, i.e., chiral and non-chiral thermoelectrics. View Full-Text
Keywords: quantum thermodynamics; Carnot efficiency; laws of thermodynamics; nanostructures; coherent transport; quantum hall effect quantum thermodynamics; Carnot efficiency; laws of thermodynamics; nanostructures; coherent transport; quantum hall effect
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Whitney, R.S. Quantum Coherent Three-Terminal Thermoelectrics: Maximum Efficiency at Given Power Output. Entropy 2016, 18, 208.

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