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We introduce the physical concepts of an electrostatic mechanism for cooling semiconductor heterostructures. The cooling results from an adiabatic expansion that redistributes electrons among the quasi-two-dimensional subbands of a quantum well, and can be controlled by an external electric field perpendicular to the plane of the well. Under ideal conditions, the final temperature is half of the original and the dynamics of the process is completely universal and reversible. The applicabilitydoi:10.1063/1.124984 fatcat:j33la6qex5gzfopa2alshno4ea