Thursday, May 23, 2013

1305.5074 (Paolo Malgaretti et al.)

Confined Brownian ratchets    [PDF]

Paolo Malgaretti, Ignacio Pagonabarraga, J. Miguel Rubi
We analyze the dynamics of Brownian ratchets in a confined environment. The motion of the particles is described by a Fick-Jakobs kinetic equation in which the presence of boundaries is modeled by means of an entropic potential. The cases of a flashing ratchet, a two-state model and a ratchet under the influence of a temperature gradient are analyzed in detail. We show the emergence of a strong cooperativity between the inherent rectification of the ratchet mechanism and the entropic bias of the fluctuations caused by spatial confinement. Net particle transport may take place in situations where none of those mechanisms leads to rectification when acting individually. The combined rectification mechanisms may lead to bidirectional transport and to new routes to segregation phenomena. Confined Brownian ratchets (CBR) could be used to control transport in mesostructures and to engineer new and more efficient devices for transport at the nanoscale.
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