Quantum effects lead to more powerful battery charging

May 1, 2017 by Lisa Zyga feature
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

(Phys.org)—Physicists have theoretically shown that, when multiple nanoscale batteries are coupled together, they can be charged faster than if each battery was charged individually. The improvement arises from collective quantum phenomena and is rooted in the emerging field of quantum thermodynamics—the study of how quantum effects influence the traditional laws governing energy and work.

The researchers, Francesco Campaioli et al., have published a paper on the fast charging of nanoscale batteries in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

Although a great deal of research has shown that quantum phenomena provide advantages in information processing applications, such as computing and secure communication, there have been very few demonstrations of quantum advantages in thermodynamics. In one recent study in this area, researchers showed that can allow more work to be extracted from a nanoscale energy-storage device, or "quantum battery," than would be possible without entanglement.

In the new study, the researchers build on this result to show that quantum phenomena can also enhance the charging power of quantum batteries. They also found that the process does not necessarily require entanglement, although it does require operations that have the potential to generate entangled states.

"Our work shows how entangling operations—that is, interactions between two or more bodies—are necessary to obtain a quantum advantage for the charging power of many-body batteries, whereas entanglement itself does not constitute a resource," Campaioli, at Monash University in Australia, told Phys.org. "Additionally, we show that for locally coupled batteries the quantum advantage scales with the number of interacting batteries."

The quantum advantage is not without its limits, however, and the physicists derive the upper bound on how much faster a collection of batteries can be charged with the help of . They show that for locally coupled batteries the quantum advantage grows with the number of interacting batteries. These bounds for the quantum advantage are based on , which are used, for example, to estimate the maximum speed of quantum processes, such as calculations on a quantum computer. Here, the limit is for thermodynamic processes.

Overall, the results may lead to methods of improving future nanoscale energy-charging processes, as well as to a better understanding of how quantum theory and thermodynamics are related.

"Our result could be used to provide optimal charging for nanodevices that rely on batteries that consist of few quantum systems, such as charge qubits, ions or atoms," Campaioli said. "Our plan for future research in this field is to provide a tight upper bound to the advantage that can be obtained by means of interactions between a finite number of bodies. Furthermore, we would like to obtain an experimental realization of the above-mentioned quantum advantage."

Explore further: For faster battery charging, try a quantum battery?

More information: Francesco Campaioli et al. "Enhancing the Charging Power of Quantum Batteries." Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.150601

Related Stories

For faster battery charging, try a quantum battery?

August 3, 2015

(Phys.org)—Physicists have shown that a quantum battery—basically, a quantum system such as a qubit that stores energy in its quantum states—can theoretically be charged at a faster rate than conventional batteries. ...

Quantum shortcuts cannot bypass the laws of thermodynamics

March 16, 2017

(Phys.org)—Over the past several years, physicists have developed quantum shortcuts that speed up the operation of quantum systems. Surprisingly, some of these shortcuts theoretically appear to enable systems to operate ...

What is quantum in quantum thermodynamics?

October 12, 2015

(Phys.org)—A lot of attention has been given to the differences between the quantum and classical worlds. For example, quantum entanglement, superposition, and teleportation are purely quantum phenomena with no classical ...

Discord strikes the right quantum note

August 6, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Scientists have taken a quantum leap forward towards future computing after discovering that ‘background interference’ in quantum-level measurements, may be the very thing they need to unlock the potential ...

The exciting new age of quantum computing

October 25, 2016

What does the future hold for computing? Experts at the Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub (NQIT), based at Oxford University, believe our next great technological leap lies in the development of quantum computing.

Recommended for you

Quantum internet goes hybrid

November 22, 2017

In a recent study published in Nature, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten report an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrate photonic quantum communication between two distinct quantum ...

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

November 22, 2017

Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

Study shows how to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

November 21, 2017

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT ...

Imaging technique unlocks the secrets of 17th century artists

November 21, 2017

The secrets of 17th century artists can now be revealed, thanks to 21st century signal processing. Using modern high-speed scanners and the advanced signal processing techniques, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.