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Statistics of Infima and Stopping Times of Entropy Production and Applications to Active Molecular Processes

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Izaak Neri, Edgar Roldan, Frank Juelicher

Original languageEnglish
Article number011019
Pages (from-to)1-30
JournalPhysical Review X
Early online date21 Feb 2017
Accepted/In press20 Dec 2016
E-pub ahead of print21 Feb 2017
PublishedMar 2017


King's Authors


We study the statistics of infima, stopping times, and passage probabilities of entropy production in non equilibrium steady states, and we show that they are universal. We consider two examples of stopping times: first-passage times of entropy production and waiting times of stochastic processes, which are the times when a system reaches a given state for the first time. Our main results are as follows: (i) The distribution of the global infimum of entropy production is exponential with mean equal to minus Boltzmann’s constant; (ii) we find exact expressions for the passage probabilities of entropy production;(iii) we derive a fluctuation theorem for stopping-time distributions of entropy production. These results have interesting implications for stochastic processes that can be discussed in simple colloidal systems and in active molecular processes. In particular,we show that the timing and statistics of discrete chemical transitions of molecular processes, such as the steps of molecular motors, are governed by the statistics of entropy production. We also show that the extreme-value statistics of active molecular processes are governed by entropy production; for example, we derive a relation between the maximal excursion of a molecular motor against the direction of an external force and the infimum of the corresponding entropy-production fluctuations. Using this relation, we make predictions for the distribution of the maximum back track depth of RNA polymerases, which follow from our universal results for entropy-production infima.

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