Definitions

carnot-engine

Photo-Carnot engine

A Photo-Carnot engine is a Carnot cycle engine in which the working medium is a photon inside a cavity with perfectly reflecting walls. Radiation is the working fluid, and the piston is driven by radiation pressure.

A quantum Carnot engine is one in which the atoms in the heat bath are given a small bit of quantum coherence. The phase of the atomic coherence provides a new control parameter.

The deep physics behind the second law of thermodynamics is not violated; nevertheless, the quantum Carnot engine has certain features that are not possible in a classical engine.

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