The smallest refrigerators can reach maximal efficiency

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68 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate whether size imposes a fundamental constraint on the efficiency of small thermal machines. We analyse in detail a model of a small self-contained refrigerator consisting of three qubits. We show analytically that this system can reach the Carnot efficiency, thus demonstrating that there exists no complementarity between size and efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number492002
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2011

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