Thermodynamic laws have been key for the design of useful
everyday devices from car engines and fridges to power
plants and solar cells. Technology’s continuing
miniaturisation to the nanoscale is expected to soon enter
regimes where standard thermodynamic laws do not apply. I
will give an introduction to quantum thermodynamics - the
emerging research field that aims to uncover the
thermodynamic laws that govern small ensembles of systems
that follow non-equilibrium dynamics and can host quantum
I will discuss a nanoscale thermodynamic experiment with
heated optically trapped nanospheres in a dilute gas . By
developing a new theoretical model that captures the
non-equilibrium situation of the particles, we were able to
measure the surface temperature of the trapped spheres and
observe temperature gradients on the nanoscale.
In the second part of the talk I will discuss recent
theoretical advances in defining thermodynamic work in the
quantum regime. By introducing a process that removes
quantum coherences we were able to show that work cannot
only be extracted from classical non-equilibrium systems,
additional work can be extracted from quantum coherences .
 Quantum thermodynamics, S. Vinjanampathy, J. Anders,
Contemporary Physics 57, 545 (2016).
 Nanoscale temperature measurements using non-equilibrium
Brownian dynamics of a levitated nanosphere, J. Millen, T.
Deesuwan, P. Barker, J. Anders, Nature Nanotechnology 9, 425
 Coherence and measurement in quantum thermodynamics, P.
Kammerlander, J. Anders, Scientific Reports 6, 22174 (2016).