May 31, 2016

Quantum thermal transistor can control heat currents

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

(—Researchers have designed a quantum thermal transistor that can control heat currents, in analogy to the way in which an electronic transistor controls electric current. The thermal transistor could be used in applications that recycle waste heat that has been harvested from power stations and other energy systems. Currently, there are methods for transporting and guiding this heat, but not for controlling, amplifying, and switching the heat on and off, as the quantum thermal transistor can do.

The researchers, Karl Joulain et al., at the University of Poitiers and CNRS in France, have published a paper on the quantum thermal transistor in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

“To manage electricity, one uses electronic diodes, transistor and amplifiers,” Joulain told “We would like to do the same thing with thermal currents. We would like to make logical thermal circuits in the same way electronic thermal circuits have been designed. In this way, wasted heat could be guided, switched on or off, amplified or modulated.”

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