Sharpening accepted thermodynamic wisdom via quantum control: or cooling to an internal temperature of zero by external coherent control fields without spontaneous emission Conference Paper uri icon


  • Cooling of internal atomic and molecular states via optical pumping and laser cooling of the atomic velocity distribution, rely on spontaneous emission. The outstanding success of such examples, taken together with general arguments, has led to the widely held notion that radiative cooling requires spontaneous emission. We here show by specific examples and direct calculation, based primarily on breaking emission-absorption symmetry as in lasing without inversion, that cooling of internal states by external coherent control fields is possible. We also show that such coherent schemes allow us to practically reach absolute zero in a finite number of steps, in contrast to some statements of the third law of thermodynamics.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Scully, M. O., Aharonov, Y., Kapale, K. T., Tannor, D. J., Sussmann, G., & Walther, H.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Scully, MO||Aharonov, Y||Kapale, KT||Tannor, DJ||Sussmann, G||Walther, H

publication date

  • November 2002