News of the WeekTHERMODYNAMICS

Quantum Engine Blasts Past High Gear

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 425
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5554.425a

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Summary

The laws of thermodynamics set clear limits on how much work engines can squeeze from a given energy input. But take those classical axioms and add quantum mechanics, and unusual things can happen. A physicist has found that in theory he could take the hot exhaust from one kind of heat engine and drive a laser with it to do more work than classical thermodynamics allows.