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Far-from-equilibrium measurements of thermodynamic length

Description: Thermodynamic length is a path function that generalizes the notion of length to the surface of thermodynamic states. Here, we show how to measure thermodynamic length in far-from-equilibrium experiments using the work fluctuation relations. For these microscopic systems, it proves necessary to define the thermodynamic length in terms of the Fisher information. Consequently, the thermodynamic length can be directly related to the magnitude of fluctuations about equilibrium. The work fluctuation relations link the work and the free energy change during an external perturbation on a system. We use this result to determine equilibrium averages at intermediate points of the protocol in which the system is out-of-equilibrium. This allows us to extend Bennett's method to determine the potential of mean force, as well as the thermodynamic length, in single molecule experiments.
Date: November 5, 2008
Creator: Feng, Edward H. & Crooks, Gavin E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Length of Time's Arrow

Description: An unresolved problem in physics is how the thermodynamic arrow of time arises from an underlying time reversible dynamics. We contribute to this issue by developing a measure of time-symmetry breaking, and by using the work fluctuation relations, we determine the time asymmetry of recent single molecule RNA unfolding experiments. We define time asymmetry as the Jensen-Shannon divergencebetween trajectory probability distributions of an experiment and its time-reversed conjugate. Among other interesting properties, the length of time's arrow bounds the average dissipation and determines the difficulty of accurately estimating free energy differences in nonequilibrium experiments.
Date: August 21, 2008
Creator: Feng, Edward H. & Crooks, Gavin E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department