Unified picture of strong-coupling stochastic thermodynamics and time reversals

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  • Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract

Strong-coupling statistical thermodynamics is formulated as the Hamiltonian dynamics of an observed system interacting with another unobserved system (a bath). It is shown that the entropy production functional of stochastic thermodynamics, defined as the log ratio of forward and backward system path probabilities, is in a one-to-one relation with the log ratios of the joint initial conditions of the system and the bath. A version of strong-coupling statistical thermodynamics where the system-bath interaction vanishes at the beginning and at the end of a process is, as is also weak-coupling stochastic thermodynamics, related to the bath initially in equilibrium by itself. The heat is then the change of bath energy over the process, and it is discussed when this heat is a functional of the system history alone. The version of strong-coupling statistical thermodynamics introduced by Seifert and Jarzynski is related to the bath initially in conditional equilibrium with respect to the system. This leads to heat as another functional of the system history which needs to be determined by thermodynamic integration. The log ratio of forward and backward system path probabilities in a stochastic process is finally related to log ratios of the initial conditions of a combined system and bath. It is shown that the entropy production formulas of stochastic processes under a general class of time reversals are given by the differences of bath energies in a larger underlying Hamiltonian system. The paper highlights the centrality of time reversal in stochastic thermodynamics, also in the case of strong coupling.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number042112
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalPhysical Review E
Volume97
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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