Reversibility, heat dissipation, and the importance of the thermal environment in stochastic models of nonequilibrium steady states

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Abstract

We examine stochastic processes that are used to model nonequilibrium processes (e.g., pulling RNA or dragging colloids) and so deliberately violate detailed balance. We argue that by combining an information-theoretic measure of irreversibility with nonequilibrium work theorems, the thermal physics implied by abstract dynamics can be determined. This measure is bounded above by thermodynamic entropy production and so may quantify how well a stochastic dynamics models reality. We also use our findings to critique various modeling approaches and notions arising in steady-state thermodynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number010601
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume100
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2008

Keywords

  • FLUCTUATION THEOREM
  • ENTROPY PRODUCTION
  • SMALL SYSTEMS
  • THERMODYNAMICS
  • INFORMATION
  • DYNAMICS

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