Modeling an efficient Brownian heat engine
Department of Physics and Graduate Institute of Biophysics National Central University, 32001 Jhongli, Taiwan
Corresponding author: a firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: 15 July 2008
Published online: 30 July 2008
We discuss the effect of subdividing the ratchet potential on the performance of a tiny Brownian heat engine that is modeled as a Brownian particle hopping in a viscous medium in a sawtooth potential (with or without load) assisted by alternately placed hot and cold heat baths along its path. We show that the velocity, the efficiency and the coefficient of performance of the refrigerator maximize when the sawtooth potential is subdivided into series of smaller connected barrier series. When the engine operates quasistatically, we analytically show that the efficiency of the engine can not approach the Carnot efficiency and, the coefficient of performance of the refrigerator is always less than the Carnot refrigerator due to the irreversible heat flow via the kinetic energy.
PACS: 05.40.Jc – Brownian motion / 05.60.-k – Transport processes / 05.70.-a – Thermodynamics
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2008