Upcoming Events

Prof. Robert Alicki // Prof. Alejandro Jenkins , various

Fraunhofer FEP Seminar

07.07.2022 (Thursday) , 09:00 - 11:00
Winterberg Straße 28 01277 Dresden

Talk 1: Prof. Robert Alicki "Generation of electromotive force in solar, electrochemical and thermoelectric devices"

The textbook explanations of operation principles for photovoltaic, electrochemical, fuel and thermoelectric cells are inconsistent and incomplete. For example, the idea that stationary electrostatic and chemical potentials can drive electric current in a closed circuit is obviously incorrect. The universal dynamical model of devices generating electromotive force is discussed. Here, electric current is generated by a pump driven by a heat or chemical engine with a piston formed by the electrostatic double layer at the interface. Observable predictions of this model are discussed and the further applications of those ideas to other active systems are outlined.

Born on 12 September 1951 in Toruń. Received a Master Degree in 1974, a PhD in 1977, Dr. hab. in 1983 at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Professor title in 1992. Employed by the University of Gdańsk, Visiting Professor at MLU in Munich, KUL in Leuven, University of Florida in Gainsville, University of Nottingham, Weizmann Institute of Science. Senior Fellow of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (Germany). Author and co-author of over 150 publications in international journals and co-author of 2 monographs: Quantum Dynamical Semigroups and Applications, Springer, Berlin 1987, II edition 2007 (with K. Lendi); Quantum Dynamical Systems, Oxford University Press, 2001 (with M. Fannes). Topics of research include mathematical physics, quantum statistical physics, theory of open quantum systems, quantum thermodynamics, quantum information and foundations of quantum mechanics.

Talk 2: Prof. Alejandro Jenkins "Quantum Theory of Triboelectricity"

We present a microphysical theory of the triboelectric effect by which mechanical rubbing separates charges across the interface between two materials. Surface electrons are treated as an open system coupled to two baths, corresponding to the bulks. Extending Zel‘dovich‘s theory of bosonic superradiance, we show that motion-induced population inversion can generate an electromotive force. We argue that this is consistent with the basic phenomenology of triboelectrification and triboluminescence as irreversible processes, and we suggest how to carry out more precise experimental tests of our theory. This work has been published as R. Alicki and A. Jenkins, PRL 125, 186101 (2020). The question of triboelectricity as a form of active transport is part of the broader problem of understanding how an »electromotive force« (emf) is generated through a process of dynamical pumping in systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium. I will comment briefly on how this relates to other open questions about the basic theory of photovoltaic cells, batteries, particle acceleration by double layers in plasmas, and ion pumping in biological membranes.

Alejandro Jenkins is a theoretical physicist (AB Harvard, 2001; PhD Caltech, 2006). His early work was focused on high-energy physics (elementary particles and cosmology) and he was a postdoc at Caltech (2006), MIT (2006-09), and Florida State U. (2009-12). More recently, his interests have extended into other areas, especially dynamical systems and thermodynamics. Currently, his main focus is on active irreversible processes, especially those that may be characterized as engines or self-oscillators. Since 2013, he has been professor of physics at the University of Costa Rica (his native country) and, since 2015, member of Costa Rica‘s National Academy of Sciences. In 2020-21 he was Ulam Fellow at the International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies (ICTQT), in Gdansk, where he carried out the project »Energy conversion by open quantum systems: Theory and applications«, in collaboration with Profs. Robert Alicki, David Gelbwaser-Klimovsky, and Elizabeth von Hauff, among others. He is currently based at the ICTQT as a senior scientist.

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