Efficiency of Harmonic Quantum Otto Engines at Maximal Efficiency
Sebastian DeffnerEntropy 20, 875 (2018)
Recent experimental breakthroughs produced the first nano heat engines that have the potential to harness quantum resources. An instrumental question is how their performance measures up against the efficiency of classical engines. For single ion engines undergoing quantum Otto cycles it has been found that the efficiency at maximal power is given by the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency. This is rather remarkable as the Curzon–Alhbron efficiency was originally derived for endoreversible Carnot cycles. Here, we analyze two examples of endoreversible Otto engines within the same conceptual framework as Curzon and Ahlborn’s original treatment. We find that for endoreversible Otto cycles in classical harmonic oscillators the efficiency at maximal power is, indeed, given by the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency. However, we also find that the efficiency of Otto engines made of quantum harmonic oscillators is significantly larger.