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Open AccessArticle

Molecular Heat Engines: Quantum Coherence Effects

by Feng Chen 1, Yi Gao 2,† and Michael Galperin 2,*
1
Department of Physics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
2
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: PIMCO, Investment Management, Newport Beach, CA 92660, USA.
Entropy 2017, 19(9), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/e19090472
Received: 29 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 2 September 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Thermodynamics)
Recent developments in nanoscale experimental techniques made it possible to utilize single molecule junctions as devices for electronics and energy transfer with quantum coherence playing an important role in their thermoelectric characteristics. Theoretical studies on the efficiency of nanoscale devices usually employ rate (Pauli) equations, which do not account for quantum coherence. Therefore, the question whether quantum coherence could improve the efficiency of a molecular device cannot be fully addressed within such considerations. Here, we employ a nonequilibrium Green function approach to study the effects of quantum coherence and dephasing on the thermoelectric performance of molecular heat engines. Within a generic bichromophoric donor-bridge-acceptor junction model, we show that quantum coherence may increase efficiency compared to quasi-classical (rate equation) predictions and that pure dephasing and dissipation destroy this effect. View Full-Text
Keywords: efficiency; quantum coherence; Green functions; molecular electronics efficiency; quantum coherence; Green functions; molecular electronics
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Chen, F.; Gao, Y.; Galperin, M. Molecular Heat Engines: Quantum Coherence Effects. Entropy 2017, 19, 472.

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