Archive ouverte HAL – Optimal work in a harmonic trap with bounded stiffness

Carlos A. Plata 1, 2 David Guéry-Odelin 3 E. Trizac 4 A. Prados 1

Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2019, 99 (1), pp.012140. 〈10.1103/PhysRevE.99.012140〉

We apply Pontryagin's principle to drive rapidly a trapped overdamped Brownian particle in contact with a thermal bath between two equilibrium states corresponding to different trap stiffness $\kappa$. We work out the optimal time dependence $\kappa(t)$ by minimising the work performed on the particle under the non-holonomic constraint $0\leq\kappa\leq\kappa_{\max}$, an experimentally relevant situation. Several important differences arise, as compared with the case of unbounded stiffness that has been analysed in the literature. First, two arbitrary equilibrium states may not always be connected. Second, depending on the operating time $t_{\text{f}}$ and the desired compression ratio $\kappa_{\text{f}}/\kappa_{\text{\i}}$, different types of solutions emerge. Finally, the differences in the minimum value of the work brought about by the bounds may become quite large, which may have a relevant impact on the optimisation of heat engines.

  • 1. Universidad de Sevilla
  • 2. Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia "Galileo Galilei"
  • 3. Atomes Froids (LCAR)
  • 4. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques