Stochastic thermodynamics for active matter
Institut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz - Staudingerweg 7-9, 55128 Mainz, Germany
Received: 9 March 2016
Accepted: 17 May 2016
The theoretical understanding of active matter, which is driven out of equilibrium by directed motion, is still fragmental and model oriented. Stochastic thermodynamics, on the other hand, is a comprehensive theoretical framework for driven systems that allows to define fluctuating work and heat. We apply these definitions to active matter, assuming that dissipation can be modelled by effective non-conservative forces. We show that, through the work, conjugate extensive and intensive observables can be defined even in non-equilibrium steady states lacking a free energy. As an illustration, we derive the expressions for the pressure and interfacial tension of active Brownian particles. The latter becomes negative despite the observed stable phase separation. We discuss this apparent contradiction, highlighting the role of fluctuations, and we offer a tentative explanation.
PACS: 05.70.-a – Thermodynamics / 64.75.Xc – Phase separation and segregation in colloidal systems
© EPLA, 2016