We investigate the quantum thermodynamics of two quantum systems, a two-level system and a four-level quantum photocell, each driven by photon pulses as a quantum heat engine. We set these systems to be in thermal contact only with a cold reservoir while the heat (energy) source, conventionally given from a hot thermal reservoir, is supplied by a sequence of photon pulses. The dynamics of each system is governed by a coherent interaction due to photon pulses in terms of the Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian together with the system-bath interaction described by the Lindblad master equation. We calculate the thermodynamic quantities for the two-level system and the quantum photocell including the change in system energy, the power delivered by photon pulses, the power output to an external load, the heat dissipated to a cold bath, and the entropy production. We thereby demonstrate how a quantum photocell in the cold bath can operate as a continuum quantum heat engine with a sequence of photon pulses continuously applied. We specifically introduce the power efficiency of the quantum photocell in terms of the ratio of output power delivered to an external load with current and voltage to the input power delivered by the photon pulse. Our study indicates a possibility that a quantum system driven by external fields can act as an efficient quantum heat engine under non-equilibrium thermodynamics.
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