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Picture of the Day

Researchers validate fluctuation theorems for first time

Researchers have performed the first experimental tests of several fundamental theorems in thermodynamics, verifying the relationship between them and providing a better understanding of how nanoparticles behave under fluctuation. As a system gets smaller, fluctuations away from equilibrium begin to dominate its behavior. This makes the data from experiments in small systems, such as biological molecular motors and nanoscale magnets, messy and difficult to make sense of. Fluctuation theorems help researchers make sense of the fluctuations in these systems. Fluctuation theorems are refinements of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that all kinds of energy in the material world disperses if it is not hindered from doing so.

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