Experimental study of the fluctuation theorem in a nonequilibrium steady state
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The fluctuation theorem sFTd quantifies the probability of second law violations in small systems over short time scales. While this theorem has been experimentally demonstrated for systems that are perturbed from an initial equilibrium state, there are a number of studies suggesting that the theorem applies asymptotically in the long time limit to systems in a nonequilibrium steady state. The asymptotic application of the FT to such nonequilibrium steady states has been referred to in the literature as the steady-state fluctuation theorem sor SSFTd. In this paper, we demonstrate experimentally the application of the FT to nonequilibrium steady states, using a colloidal particle localized in a translating optical trap. Furthermore, we show, for this colloidal system, that the FT holds under nonequilibrium steady states for all time, and not just in the long time limit, as in the SSFT.
Physical Review E