Reversibility in nonequilibrium trajectories of an optically trapped particle
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The fluctuation theorem (FT) describes how a system's thermodynamic irreversibility develops in time from a completely thermodynamically reversible system at short observation times, to a thermodynamically irreversible one at infinitely long times. In this paper, we present a general definition of the dissipation function t, the quantitative argument in the fluctuation theorem (FT), that is a measure of a system's irreversibility. Originally cast for deterministic systems, we demonstrate, through the example of two recent experiments, that the dissipation function can be defined for stochastic systems. While the ensemble average of t is positive definite irrespective of the system for which it is constructed, different expressions for t can arise in stochastic and deterministic systems. Moreover, within the stochastic framework, t is not unique. Nevertheless, each of these expressions for t satisfies the FT.
Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear| and Soft Matter Physics
© 2004 American Physical Society. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. This journal is available online - use hypertext links.