Volume 68, Number 1, October 2004
|Page(s)||26 - 32|
|Published online||01 September 2004|
Molecular motor with a built-in escapement device
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique des Liquides, Université Paris 6, Tour 16 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung - Heisenbergstr. 3 D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany and Institut für Theoretische und Angewandte Physik, Universität Stuttgart Pfaffenwaldring 57, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany
3 School of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University - 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel
Accepted: 3 August 2004
We study the dynamics of a classical particle in a one-dimensional potential composed of two identical spatially periodic components, one of which is externally driven by a random force. We demonstrate that, under certain conditions, the particle may move unidirectionally with a constant velocity, despite the fact that the average external force is zero. We show that the physical mechanism underlying such a phenomenon resembles the work of an escapement-type device in watches; upon reaching a certain level, random fluctuations exercise a locking function creating points of irreversibility which the particle cannot overpass. Repeated (randomly) in each cycle, this results in a saltatory ballistic-type motion. In the overdamped limit, we work out simple analytical estimates for the particle's terminal velocity. Our analytical results are in a very good agreement with Monte Carlo results.
PACS: 05.60.-k – Transport processes / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion
© EDP Sciences, 2004
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