J. Phys. I France
Volume 4, Numéro 10, October 1994
Page(s) 1551 - 1561
DOI: 10.1051/jp1:1994206
J. Phys. I France 4 (1994) 1551-1561

Rectified motion induced by ac forces in periodic structures

Armand Ajdari1, David Mukamel1, 2, Luca Peliti3, 4 and Jacques Prost1

1  Laboratoire de Physico-Chimie Théorique, ESPCI, 10 rue Vauquelin, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
2  Department of Complex Systems, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israël
3  Section de Physique et Chimie, Institut Curie, 13 rue P. et M. Curie, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
4  Dipartimento di Science Fisiche and Unità, Instituto Nazionale di Fisica della Materia, Università di Napoli, Mostra d'Oltremare, Pad. 19, 80125 Napoli, Italy

(Received 11 April 1994, accepted in final form 5 July 1994)

A particle in a periodic potential can be set into macroscopic motion by an ac force of zero mean value if the potential is asymmetric in space or the ac force is asymmetric in time. We analyze features of the resulting complex behaviour at zero and low temperatures within the framework of a simple sawtooth potential. This allows us to suggest experiments promoting separation methods and analysis of motor protein assemblies.

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