Advanced heat-pump cycles are being investigated for various applications. However, the working media and associated thermal design aspects require new concepts for maintaining high thermal effectiveness and phase equilibrium for achieving maximum possible thermodynamic advantages. In the present study, the heat- and mass-transfer processes in two heat-pump systems -- those based on absorption processes, and those using refrigerant mixtures -- are analyzed. The major technical barriers for achieving the ideal performance predicted by thermodynamic analysis are identified. The analysis provides general guidelines for the development of heat- and mass-transfer equipment for advanced heat-pump systems.