Collective transport in locally asymmetric periodic structures

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31 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we give an overview of the cooperative effects in fluctuation driven transport arising from the interaction of a large number of particles. (i) First, we study a model with finite-sized, overdamped Brownian particles interacting via hard-core repulsion. Computer simulations and theoretical calculations reveal a number of novel cooperative transport phenomena in this system, including the reversal of direction of the net current as the particle density is increased, and a very strong and complex dependence of the average velocity on both the size and the average distance of the particles. (ii) Next, we consider the cooperation of a collection of motors rigidly attached to a backbone. This system possesses dynamical phase transition allowing spontaneous directed motion even if the system is spatially symmetric. (iii) Finally, we report on an experimental investigation exploring the horizontal transport of granular particles in a vertically vibrated system whose base has a sawtooth-shaped profile. The resulting material flow exhibits complex collective behavior, both as a function of the number of layers of particles and the driving frequency; in particular, under certain conditions, increasing the layer thickness leads to a reversal of the current, while the onset of transport as a function of frequency occurs gradually in a manner reminiscent of a phase transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-664
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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