"Electronic nanodevices have demonstrated to be versatile and effective tools for the investigation of exotic quantum phenomena under controlled and adjustable conditions. Yet, these have enabled to give access to the manipulation of charge flow with unprecedented precision. On the other hand, the wisdom dealing with control, measurements, storage, and conversion of heat in nanoscale devices, the so-called “caloritronics” (from the Latin word “calor”, i.e. heat), despite a number of recent advances is still at its infancy. Although coherence often plays a crucial role in determining the functionalities of nanoelectronic devices very little is known of its role in caloritronics. In such a context, coherent control of heat seems at present still very far from reach, and devising methods to phase-coherently manipulate the thermal current would represent a crucial breakthrough which could open the door to unprecedented possibilities in several fields of science.
Here we propose an original approach to set the experimental ground for the investigation and implementation of a new branch of science, the “coherent caloritronics”, which will take advantage of quantum circuits to phase-coherently manipulate and control the heat current in solid-state nanostructures. To tackle this challenging task our approach will follow three main separate approaches, i.e. the coherent control of heat transported by electrons in Josephson nanocircuits, the coherent manipulation of heat carried by electrons and exchanged between electrons and lattice phonons in superconducting proximity systems,
and finally, the control of the heat exchanged between electrons and photons by coherently tuning the coupling with the electromagnetic environment. We will integrate superconductors with normal-metal or semiconductor electrodes thus exploring new device concepts such as heat transistors, heat diodes, heat splitters, where thermal flux control is achieved thanks to the use of the quantum phase."
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