Experimental demonstration of violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics for small systems and short time scales
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We experimentally demonstrate the fluctuation theorem, which predicts appreciable and measurable violations of the second law of thermodynamics for small systems over short time scales, by following the trajectory of a colloidal particle captured in an optical trap that is translated relative to surrounding water molecules. From each particle trajectory, we calculate the entropy production/consumption over the duration of the trajectory and determine the fraction of second law-defying trajectories. Our results show entropy consumption can occur over colloidal length and time scales.
Physical Review Letters
Copyright 2002 American Physical Society. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. This journal is available online - use hypertext links.