Statistical Mechanics where Newton's Third Law is Broken

Condensed Matter journal club

Statistical Mechanics where Newton's Third Law is Broken

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 29th May 2015
  • Speaker: Benno Liebchen (Formerly School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details


There is a variety of situations in which Newton's third law is violated. Generally, the action-reaction symmetry can be broken for mesoscopic particles, when their effective interactions are mediated by a nonequilibrium environment. Here, we investigate different classes of nonreciprocal interactions relevant to real experimental situations and present their basic statistical mechanics analysis. We show that in mixtures of particles with such interactions, distinct species acquire distinct kinetic temperatures. In certain cases, the nonreciprocal systems are exactly characterized by a pseudo-Hamiltonian; i.e., being intrinsically nonequilibrium, they can nevertheless be described in terms of equilibrium statistical mechanics. Our results have profound implications, in particular, demonstrating the possibility to generate extreme temperature gradients on the particle scale. We verify the principal theoretical predictions in experimental tests performed with two-dimensional binary complex plasmas.
Phys. Rev. X 5 article 011035 (2015)
pdf version


A.V. Ivlev, J. Bartnick, M. Heinen, C.-R. Du, V. Nosenk, H. Löwen