Authors: George Rajna
Using computer simulations for the mineral lead telluride on the CSCS supercomputer Piz Daint, ETH researchers have resolved a long-standing controversy.  Thermoelectric materials can use thermal differences to generate electricity. Now there is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way of producing them with the simplest tools: a pencil, photocopy paper, and conductive paint.  A team of researchers with the University of California and SRI International has developed a new type of cooling device that is both portable and efficient.  Thermal conductivity is one of the most crucial physical properties of matter when it comes to understanding heat transport, hydrodynamic evolution and energy balance in systems ranging from astrophysical objects to fusion plasmas.  Researchers from the Theory Department of the MPSD have realized the control of thermal and electrical currents in nanoscale devices by means of quantum local observations.  Physicists have proposed a new type of Maxwell's demon—the hypothetical agent that extracts work from a system by decreasing the system's entropy—in which the demon can extract work just by making a measurement, by taking advantage of quantum fluctuations and quantum superposition.  Pioneering research offers a fascinating view into the inner workings of the mind of 'Maxwell's Demon', a famous thought experiment in physics.  For more than a century and a half of physics, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that entropy always increases, has been as close to inviolable as any law we know. In this universe, chaos reigns supreme.  Physicists have shown that the three main types of engines (four-stroke, twostroke, and continuous) are thermodynamically equivalent in a certain quantum regime, but not at the classical level.  For the first time, physicists have performed an experiment confirming that thermodynamic processes are irreversible in a quantum system—meaning that, even on the quantum level, you can't put a broken egg back into its shell. The results have implications for understanding thermodynamics in quantum systems and, in turn, designing quantum computers and other quantum information technologies. 
Comments: 32 Pages.
[v1] 2018-08-24 07:11:58
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