Ergodicity of a single particle confined in a nanopore

S. Bernardi, Jesper Schmidt Hansen, F. Frascolli, Billy Todd, Carl Dettmann

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We analyze the dynamics of a gas particle moving through a nanopore of adjustable width with particular emphasis on ergodicity. We give a measure of the portion of phase space that is characterized by quasiperiodic trajectories which break ergodicity. The interactions between particle and wall atoms are mediated by a Lennard-Jones potential, so that an analytical treatment of the dynamics is not feasible, but making the system more physically realistic. In view of recent studies, which proved non-ergodicity for systems with scatterers interacting via smooth potentials, we find that the non-ergodic component of the
phase space for energy levels typical of experiments, is surprisingly small, i.e. we conclude that the ergodic hypothesis is a reasonable approximation even for a single particle trapped in a nanopore. Due to the numerical scope of this work, our focus will be the onset of ergodic behavior which is evident on time scales accessible to simulations and experimental observations rather than ergodicity in the infinite time limit.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Statistical Physics
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1156-1169
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Ergodic theory
  • Statistical mechanics
  • Dynamical systems
  • Lyapunov exponents

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