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Keywords:

  • heat transport;
  • molecular quantum dots;
  • thermoelectric effect;
  • time-dependent driving

Abstract

In this article we review aspects of charge and heat transport in interacting quantum dots and molecular junctions under stationary and time-dependent non-equilibrium conditions due to finite electrical and thermal bias. In particular, we discuss how a discrete level spectrum can be beneficial for thermoelectric applications, and investigate the detrimental effects of molecular vibrations on the efficiency of a molecular quantum dot as an energy converter. In addition, we consider the effects of a slow time-dependent modulation of applied voltages on the transport properties of a quantum dot and show how this can be used as a spectroscopic tool complementary to standard dc-measurements. Finally, we combine time-dependent driving with thermoelectrics in a double-quantum dot system –a nanoscale analog of a cyclic heat engine –and discuss its operation and the main limitations to its performance.