Nonequilibrium physics (Sommersemester 2017)

From Institute for Theoretical Physics II / University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

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  • Lecturer: Eric Lutz
  • Lecture: Wednesday 08:00 to 10:00 in lecture hall E
  • Exercises: Wednesday 16:00 to 18:00 in SR 01.683
  • Exam: Tuesday 01.08.17 10:00 to 12:00 in HE
  • Extra tutorial for questions: Fr 28.07.17 at 8:00 in Seminar room 02.779
  • Exam Review: Wednesday 11.10.17 at 9:00 in Seminar room 02.779

The lecture is meant as an introduction to the physics of small systems far from equilibrium. Starting from standard macroscopic thermodynamics, students will be introduced to extensions of the second law valid for systems on the micro and nanoscale and driven out equilibrium. Most of the results that will be discussed have been developed in the last fifteen years or so. Strong emphasis will be put on new concepts and ideas, as well as on the connection between theory and experiment. The study of recent research literature will be an integral part of the course.

  • Nonequilibrium thermodynamics
  • Langevin equation. Fluctuation-dissipation relation
  • Anomalous diffusion in biological cells
  • Molecular and artificial motors. Nonequilibrium transport
  • Stochastic thermodynamics. Heat and work on the nanoscale
  • Entropy production in molecular systems. Nonequilibrium fluctuation theorem
  • Equilibrium free energy from nonequilibrium measurements. Jarzynski equality

Exercise sheets


  • G. Lebon, D. Jou and J. Casas-Vazquez, Understanding nonequilibrium thermodynamics (Springer, 2008) - elementary
  • R. Zwanzig, Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics (Oxford, 2001) - deep
  • H. Risken The Fokker-Planck equation (Springer, 1989) - a classic
  • N. Pottier, Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics (Cambridge, 2009) - advanced
  • S.R. de Groot and P. Mazur, Nonequilibrium thermodynamics (Dover, 2011) - a classic