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Quantum Thermal Machines Fuelled by Vacuum Forces

Terças, H. ; Ribeiro, S. ; Pezzutto, M. ; Omar, Y.

Physical review. E Vol. 95, Nº 2, pp. 022135 - 022143, February, 2017.

ISSN (print): 2470-0045
ISSN (online): 2470-0053

Journal Impact Factor: 2,508 (in 2008)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevE.95.022135

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Abstract
We propose a quantum thermal machine composed of two nanomechanical resonators (NMR) (two membranes suspended over a trench in a substrate), placed a few μm from each other. The quantum thermodynamical cycle is powered by the Casimir interaction between the resonators and the working fluid is the polariton resulting from the mixture of the flexural (out-of-plane) vibrations. With the help of piezoelectric cells, we select and sweep the polariton frequency cyclically. We calculate the performance of the proposed quantum thermal machines and show that high efficiencies are achieved thanks to (i) the strong coupling between the resonators and (ii) the large difference between the membrane stiffnesses. Our findings can be of particular importance for applications in nanomechanical technologies where a sensitive control of temperature is needed.