We show how the local temperature of out-of-equilibrium, quantum electron systems can be consistently defined with the help of an external voltage and temperature probe. We determine sufficient conditions under which the temperature measured by the probe (i) is independent of details of the system-probe coupling, (ii) is equal to the temperature obtained from an independent current-noise measurement, (iii) satisfies the transitivity condition expressed by the zeroth law of thermodynamics, and (iv) is consistent with Carnot's theorem. This local temperature therefore characterizes the system in the common sense of equilibrium thermodynamics, but remains well defined even in out-of-equilibrium situations with no local equilibrium.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Jul 9 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics