Europhys. Lett.
Volume 70, Number 5, June 2005
Page(s) 593 - 599
Section General
Published online 29 April 2005
Europhys. Lett., 70 (5), pp. 593-599 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10024-4

An experimental test of the Jarzynski equality in a mechanical experiment

F. Douarche, S. Ciliberto, A. Petrosyan and I. Rabbiosi

Laboratoire de Physique de l'ENS Lyon CNRS UMR 5672 46, Allée d'Italie - 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France

received 16 February 2005; accepted 31 March 2005
published online 29 April 2005

We have experimentally checked the Jarzynski equality and the Crooks relation (see JARZYNSKI C., Phys. Rev. Lett., 78 (1997) 2690; CROOKS G. E., Phys. Rev. E, 60 (1999) 2721; JARZYNSKI C., J. Stat. Phys., 98 (2000) 77) on the thermal fluctuations of a macroscopic mechanical oscillator in contact with a heat reservoir. We found that, independently of the time scale and amplitude of the driving force, both relations are satisfied. These results give credit, at least in the case of Gaussian fluctuations, to the use of these relations in biological and chemical systems to estimate the free energy difference $\Delta
F$ between two equilibrium states (see RITORT F., Séminaire Poincaré, 2 (2003) 63; LIPHARDT J., DUMONT S., SMITH S. B., TICONO I. JR AND BUSTAMANTE C., Science, 296 (2002) 1832). An alternative method to estimate $\Delta
F$ in an isothermal process is proposed too.

05.40.-a - Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion.
05.70.Ln - Nonequilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics.
07.60.Ly - Interferometers.

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