Indexed on: 18 Mar '16Published on: 18 Mar '16Published in: Physical review. E
We propose a quantum Otto cycle based on the properties of a two-level system in a realistic out-of-thermal-equilibrium electromagnetic field acting as its sole reservoir. This steady configuration is produced without the need of active control over the state of the environment, which is a noncoherent thermal radiation, sustained only by external heat supplied to macroscopic objects. Remarkably, even for nonideal finite-time transformations, it largely over-performs the standard ideal Otto cycle and asymptotically achieves unit efficiency at finite power.