Nonlinear response and emerging nonequilibrium microstructures for biased diffusion in confined crowded environments

O. Benichou , P. Illien , G. Oshanin , A. Sarracino , R. Voituriez

Bibtex , URL
Published 15 Mar. 2016
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.93.032128
ISSN: 2470-0045


We study analytically the dynamics and the microstructural changes of a host medium caused by a driven tracer particle moving in a confined, quiescent molecular crowding environment. Imitating typical settings of active microrheology experiments, we consider here a minimal model comprising a geometrically confined lattice system (a two-dimensional striplike or a three-dimensional capillary-like system) populated by two types of hard-core particles with stochastic dynamics (a tracer particle driven by a constant external force and bath particles moving completely at random). Resorting to a decoupling scheme, which permits us to go beyond the linear-response approximation (Stokes regime) for arbitrary densities of the lattice gas particles, we determine the force-velocity relation for the tracer particle and the stationary density profiles of the host medium particles around it. These results are validated a posteriori by extensive numerical simulations for a wide range of parameters. Our theoretical analysis reveals two striking features: (a) We show that, under certain conditions, the terminal velocity of the driven tracer particle is a nonmonotonic function of the force, so in some parameter range the differential mobility becomes negative, and (b) the biased particle drives the whole system into a nonequilibrium steady state with a stationary particle density profile past the tracer, which decays exponentially, in sharp contrast with the behavior observed for unbounded lattices, where an algebraic decay is known to take place.

Cette publication est associée à :

Dynamique stochastique des systèmes réactifs et vivants