Science China Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 751–756

Asymmetric transportation induced by thermal noise at the nanoscale


DOI: 10.1007/s11433-012-4695-8

Cite this article as:
Wan, R., Hu, J. & Fang, H. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. (2012) 55: 751. doi:10.1007/s11433-012-4695-8


Based on a simple model, we theoretically show that asymmetric transportation is possible in nanoscale systems experiencing thermal noise without the presence of external fluctuations. The key to this theoretical advance is that the correlation lengths of the thermal fluctuations become significantly long for nanoscale systems. This differs from macroscopic systems in which the thermal noises are usually treated as white noise. Our observation does not violate the second law of thermodynamics, since at the nanoscale, extra energy is required to keep the asymmetric structure against thermal fluctuations.


ratchetnanoscalethermal fluctuations

Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Interfacial Water and Laboratory of Physical Biology, Shanghai Institute of Applied PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina