Coherent Power Booster

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Science  07 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5608, pp. 841-842
DOI: 10.1126/science.1080886

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According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, a heat engine requires two heat baths to operate-a warm source of heat and a cooler dump for waste heat. In apparent violation of this law, Scully et al . propose a heat engine that uses quantum coherence to extract work from a single, warm gas. In his Perspective, Linke explains that the Second Law is not violated, because the power extracted from the bath is smaller than that required to achieve coherence. By combining quantum mechanics with traditional heat engines, the efficiencies of various kinds of motors could be enhanced.