Thermodynamics of Many-body Quantum Systems

   School of Physics and Astronomy

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  Dr K Modi, Dr M Parish  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

As mobile devices become more and more indispensable to our way of life, it is crucial to have batteries that are both efficient and fast-charging. While batteries based on current technology have achieved a reasonable speed and efficiency, they still perform well below the fundamental limits set by nature, and they are unlikely to be adequate for the next generations of devices. This project seeks to find those fundamental limits using the tools of quantum information theory.

We will consider many-body systems as energy storage devices with the aim of enhancing performance as a battery using quantum entanglement. This project is part of a growing effort in quantum thermodynamics that aims to understand the movement of energy in mesoscopic technologies. The overarching aim of this project is to investigate under which conditions a quantum many-body system can be used as a battery, and to determine the optimal procedures for their charging and discharging. This work will eventually lead to designs for a battery with greater energy storage and higher charging power than can be achieved in current (classical) systems.

The PhD student will play a central role in this investigation. The student will learn a wide array of tools in condensed matter physics, quantum information theory, and thermodynamics. These tools will be applied to find the ultimate limits of storing energy in a physical device. After an initial period of training, they will work with Drs. Meera Parish, Kavan Modi, Jesper Levinsen and Felix Pollock to design algorithms to search for optimal battery structure within a series of theoretical models. In the course of this project, the student will acquire familiarity with a range of numerical and analytical techniques, from both condensed matter physics and quantum information theory.

Applicants should hold a good first class Honours degree and should have a strong background in undergraduate theoretical physics. In addition, this project would suit an applicant with experience of and an interest in programming

Funding Notes

The project comes with a stipend of $30,000 per year with an additional $4,000 for travel for an international academic visit or conference.


New Journal of Physics, 17 075015 (2015)
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