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Open AccessArticle

Thermoelectrics of Interacting Nanosystems—Exploiting Superselection Instead of Time-Reversal Symmetry

Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Chalmers University of Technology, SE-41298 Göteborg, Sweden
Department of Physics, Universiteit Antwerpen, B-2020 Antwerpen, Belgium
imec Leuven, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
Peter Grünberg Institut, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
JARA-FIT, 52056 Aachen, Germany
Institute for Theory of Statistical Physics, RWTH Aachen, 52056 Aachen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2017, 19(12), 668;
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 28 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 6 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Thermodynamics II)
PDF [987 KB, uploaded 8 December 2017]


Thermoelectric transport is traditionally analyzed using relations imposed by time-reversal symmetry, ranging from Onsager’s results to fluctuation relations in counting statistics. In this paper, we show that a recently discovered duality relation for fermionic systems—deriving from the fundamental fermion-parity superselection principle of quantum many-particle systems—provides new insights into thermoelectric transport. Using a master equation, we analyze the stationary charge and heat currents through a weakly coupled, but strongly interacting single-level quantum dot subject to electrical and thermal bias. In linear transport, the fermion-parity duality shows that features of thermoelectric response coefficients are actually dominated by the average and fluctuations of the charge in a dual quantum dot system, governed by attractive instead of repulsive electron-electron interaction. In the nonlinear regime, the duality furthermore relates most transport coefficients to much better understood equilibrium quantities. Finally, we naturally identify the fermion-parity as the part of the Coulomb interaction relevant for both the linear and nonlinear Fourier heat. Altogether, our findings hence reveal that next to time-reversal, the duality imposes equally important symmetry restrictions on thermoelectric transport. As such, it is also expected to simplify computations and clarify the physical understanding for more complex systems than the simplest relevant interacting nanostructure model studied here. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectrics; transport through quantum dots; strong Coulomb interaction; fermion parity thermoelectrics; transport through quantum dots; strong Coulomb interaction; fermion parity

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Schulenborg, J.; Di Marco, A.; Vanherck, J.; Wegewijs, M.R.; Splettstoesser, J. Thermoelectrics of Interacting Nanosystems—Exploiting Superselection Instead of Time-Reversal Symmetry. Entropy 2017, 19, 668.

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