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Anomalous thermodynamics at the microscale
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Computational Biology, CB. KTH, Centres, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics NORDITA.
KTH, Centres, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics NORDITA.
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Computational Biology, CB. KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Centres, ACCESS Linnaeus Centre.
2012 (English)In: Physical Review Letters, ISSN 0031-9007, E-ISSN 1079-7114, Vol. 109, no 26, 260603- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Particle motion at the microscale is an incessant tug-of-war between thermal fluctuations and applied forces on one side and the strong resistance exerted by fluid viscosity on the other. Friction is so strong that completely neglecting inertia - the overdamped approximation - gives an excellent effective description of the actual particle mechanics. In sharp contrast to this result, here we show that the overdamped approximation dramatically fails when thermodynamic quantities such as the entropy production in the environment are considered, in the presence of temperature gradients. In the limit of vanishingly small, yet finite, inertia, we find that the entropy production is dominated by a contribution that is anomalous, i.e., has no counterpart in the overdamped approximation. This phenomenon, which we call an entropic anomaly, is due to a symmetry breaking that occurs when moving to the small, finite inertia limit. Anomalous entropy production is traced back to futile phase-space cyclic trajectories displaying a fast downgradient sweep followed by a slow upgradient return to the original position.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 109, no 26, 260603- p.
Keyword [en]
Applied forces, Entropy production, Finite inertia, Fluid viscosity, Micro-scales, Particle mechanics, Particle motions, Phase spaces, Sharp contrast, Symmetry-breaking, Thermal fluctuations, Thermodynamic quantities, Tug of war (ToW)
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-116789DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.260603ISI: 000312932800002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84871815422OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-116789DiVA: diva2:600927
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QC 20130128

Available from: 2013-01-28 Created: 2013-01-28 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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