Hybrid quantum systems can often be described in terms of polaritons. These are quasiparticles formed of superpositions of their constituents, with relative weights depending on some control parameter in their interaction. In many cases, these constituents are coupled to reservoirs at different temperatures. This suggests a general approach to the realization of polaritonic heat engines where a thermodynamic cycle is realized by tuning this control parameter. Here we discuss what is arguably the simplest such engine, a single qubit coupled to a single photon. We show that this system can extract work from feeble thermal microwave fields. We also propose a quantum measurement scheme of the work and evaluate its backaction on the operation of the engine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics