Fluctuation-Dissipation Relation for Systems with Spatially Varying Friction

Oded Farago, Niels Grønbech-Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


When a particle diffuses in a medium with spatially dependent friction coefficient α(r) at constant temperature T, it drifts toward the low friction end of the system even in the absence of any real physical force f. This phenomenon, which has been previously studied in the context of non-inertial Brownian dynamics, is termed "spurious drift", although the drift is real and stems from an inertial effect taking place at the short temporal scales. Here, we study the diffusion of particles in inhomogeneous media within the framework of the inertial Langevin equation. We demonstrate that the quantity which characterizes the dynamics with non-uniform α(r) is not the displacement of the particle Δr = r - r0 (where r0 is the initial position), but rather ΔA(r) = A(r) - A(r0), where A(r) is the primitive function of α(r). We derive expressions relating the mean and variance of ΔA to f, T, and the duration of the dynamics Δt. For a constant friction coefficient α(r) = α, these expressions reduce to the well known forms of the force-drift and fluctuation-dissipation relations. We introduce a very accurate method for Langevin dynamics simulations in systems with spatially varying α(r), and use the method to validate the newly derived expressions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1110
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Statistical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Computer simulations
  • Diffusion
  • Fick's law
  • Fluctuation-dissipation theorem
  • Itô-Stratonovich Dilemma
  • Langevin dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


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