Nonlinear phenomena in quantum thermoelectrics and heat

Sánchez, D.; López, R.
Comptes Rendus Physique 17, 1060-1071 (2016)

We review recent developments in nonlinear quantum transport through nanostructures and mesoscopic systems driven by thermal gradients or in combination with voltage biases. Low-dimensional conductors are excellent platforms for analyzing both the thermoelectric and heat dynamics beyond the linear response because, due to their small size, a small temperature difference applied across regions gives rise to large thermal biases. We offer a theoretical discussion based on the scattering approach to highlight the differences between the linear and the nonlinear regimes of transport. We discuss recent experiments on quantum dots and molecular junctions subjected to strong temperature differences. Theoretical predictions concerning the Kondo effect and heat rectification proposals are briefly examined. An important issue is the calculation of thermoelectric efficiencies including nonlinearities. Cross Seebeck effects and nonlinear spin filtering arise in superconductors and topological insulators, while mixed noises between charge and heat currents are also considered. Finally, we provide an outlook on the possible future directions of the field.

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