Saltatory drift in a randomly driven two-wave potential

G. Oshanin*, J. Klafter, M. Urbakh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamics of a classical particle in a one-dimensional, randomly driven potential is analysed both analytically and numerically. The potential considered here is composed of two identical spatially periodic saw-tooth-like components, one of which is externally driven by a random force. We show that under certain conditions the particle may travel against the averaged external force, performing a saltatory unidirectional drift with a constant velocity. Such a behaviour persists also in situations when the external force averages out to zero. We demonstrate that the physics behind this phenomenon stems from a particular behaviour of fluctuations in random force: upon reaching a certain level, random fluctuations exercise a locking function creating points of irreversibility which the particle cannot overpass. Repeated (randomly) in each cycle, this results in a saltatory unidirectional drift. This mechanism resembles the work of an escapement-type device in watches. Considering the overdamped limit, we propose simple analytical estimates for the particle's terminal velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S3697-S3707
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number47
StatePublished - 30 Nov 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'Saltatory drift in a randomly driven two-wave potential'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this