HOW DOES A SYSTEM RESPOND WHEN DRIVEN AWAY FROM THERMAL EQUILIBRIUM?
It is widely appreciated that our understanding of non-equilibrium phenomena has not kept pace with its equilibrium counterpart. In recent years, however, consideration of the above question, posed at the microscopic level of statistical mechanics, has yielded some intriguing theoretical results distinguished by two common features. First, they remain valid far from equilibrium, that is, even if the system is disturbed violently from its initial equilibrium state. Second, they incorporate information about the history of the system over some span of time: effectively, these are statistical predictions about what we would see if we could watch a movie of the system filmed at the atomic level, rather than predictions about individual snapshots. To date, this work has been theoretical, though supplemented with numerical simulations. However, in the current issue of PNAS, Hummer and Szabo  show how to combine these theoretical advances with single molecule manipulation experiments, so as to extract useful equilibrium information from non-equilibrium laboratory data. What these authors propose amounts to a novel method of deducing the equilibrium mechanical properties of individual molecules.
- Publication Date:
- OSTI Identifier:
- Report Number(s):
- DOE Contract Number:
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- Resource Relation:
- Conference: Conference title not supplied, Conference location not supplied, Conference dates not supplied; Other Information: PBD: 1 Mar 2001
- Research Org:
- Los Alamos National Lab., NM (US)
- Sponsoring Org:
- US Department of Energy (US)
- Country of Publication:
- United States
- 71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; MECHANICAL PROPERTIES; STATISTICAL MECHANICS; THERMAL EQUILIBRIUM
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