Local temperature of out-of-equilibrium quantum electron systems

J. Meair, J. P. Bergfield, C. A. Stafford, Ph Jacquod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We show how the local temperature of out-of-equilibrium, quantum electron systems can be consistently defined with the help of an external voltage and temperature probe. We determine sufficient conditions under which the temperature measured by the probe (i) is independent of details of the system-probe coupling, (ii) is equal to the temperature obtained from an independent current-noise measurement, (iii) satisfies the transitivity condition expressed by the zeroth law of thermodynamics, and (iv) is consistent with Carnot's theorem. This local temperature therefore characterizes the system in the common sense of equilibrium thermodynamics, but remains well defined even in out-of-equilibrium situations with no local equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035407
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 9 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Local temperature of out-of-equilibrium quantum electron systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this