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      Artificial Brownian motors: Controlling transport on the nanoscale

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          Abstract

          In systems possessing spatial or dynamical symmetry breaking, Brownian motion combined with symmetric external input signals, deterministic or random, alike, can assist directed motion of particles at the submicron scales. In such cases, one speaks of "Brownian motors". In this review the constructive role of Brownian motion is exemplified for various one-dimensional setups, mostly inspired by the cell molecular machinery: working principles and characteristics of stylized devices are discussed to show how fluctuations, either thermal or extrinsic, can be used to control diffusive particle transport. Recent experimental demonstrations of this concept are reviewed with particular attention to transport in artificial nanopores and optical traps, where single particle currents have been first measured. Much emphasis is given to two- and three-dimensional devices containing many interacting particles of one or more species; for this class of artificial motors, noise rectification results also from the interplay of particle Brownian motion and geometric constraints. Recently, selective control and optimization of the transport of interacting colloidal particles and magnetic vortices have been successfully achieved, thus leading to the new generation of microfluidic and superconducting devices presented hereby. Another area with promising potential for realization of artificial Brownian motors are microfluidic or granular set-ups.....

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                08 July 2008
                2008-09-24
                10.1103/RevModPhys.81.387
                0807.1283

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                Rev. Mod. Phys. 81, 387-442 (2009)
                57 pages, 39 figures; submitted to Reviews Modern Physics, revised version
                cond-mat.stat-mech

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