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Laser Cooling Beyond Rate Equations: Approaches From Quantum Thermodynamics

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posted on 2023-01-12, 14:54 authored by C. N. Murphy, L. Toledo Tude, P. R. Eastham
Solids can be cooled by driving impurity ions with lasers, allowing them to transfer heat from the lattice phonons to the electromagnetic surroundings. This exemplifies a quantum thermal machine, which uses a quantum system as a working medium to transfer heat between reservoirs. We review the derivation of the Bloch-Redfield equation for a quantum system coupled to a reservoir, and its extension, using counting fields, to calculate heat currents. We use the full form of this equation, which makes only the weak-coupling and Markovian approximations, to calculate the cooling power for a simple model of laser cooling. We compare its predictions with two other time-local master equations: the secular approximation to the full Bloch-Redfield equation, and the Lindblad form expected for phonon transitions in the absence of driving. We conclude that the full Bloch-Redfield equation provides accurate results for the heat current in both the weak- and strong- driving regimes, whereas the other forms have more limited applicability. Our results support the use of Bloch-Redfield equations in quantum thermal machines, in spite of their potential to give unphysical results.

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