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Chin. Phys. B, 2020, Vol. 29(4): 040504    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/ab7da5
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Energy cooperation in quantum thermoelectric systems withmultiple electric currents

Yefeng Liu(刘叶锋)1, Jincheng Lu(陆金成)1, Rongqian Wang(王荣倩)1, Chen Wang(王晨)2, Jian-Hua Jiang(蒋建华)1
1 School of Physical Science and Technology, Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China;
2 Department of Physics, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China
Abstract  The energy efficiency and output power of a quantum thermoelectric system with multiple electric currents and only one heat current are studied. The system is connected to the hot heat bath (cold bath) through one terminal (multiple terminals). In such configurations, there are multiple thermoelectric effects coexisting in the system. Using the Landauer-Büttiker formalism, we show that the cooperation between the two thermoelectric effects in the three-terminal thermoelectric systems can lead to markedly improved performance of the heat engine. Such improvement also occurs in four-terminal thermoelectric heat engines with three output electric currents. Cooperative effects in these multi-terminal thermoelectric systems can considerably enlarge the physical parameter region that realizes high energy efficiency and output power. For refrigeration, we find that the energy efficiency can also be substantially improved by exploiting the cooperative effects in multi-terminal thermoelectric systems. All these results reveal a useful approach toward high-performance thermoelectric energy conversion in multi-terminal mesoscopic systems.
Keywords:  thermoelectric effect      thermodynamics      cooperative effect  
Received:  27 January 2020      Revised:  27 February 2020      Published:  05 April 2020
PACS:  05.70.Ln (Nonequilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics)  
  84.60.-h (Direct energy conversion and storage)  
  88.05.De (Thermodynamic constraints on energy production)  
  88.05.Bc (Energy efficiency; definitions and standards)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11675116 and 11704093), the Jiangsu Specially-Appointed Professor Funding, and a Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD), China.
Corresponding Authors:  Jincheng Lu, Jian-Hua Jiang     E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

Yefeng Liu(刘叶锋), Jincheng Lu(陆金成), Rongqian Wang(王荣倩), Chen Wang(王晨), Jian-Hua Jiang(蒋建华) Energy cooperation in quantum thermoelectric systems withmultiple electric currents 2020 Chin. Phys. B 29 040504

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