The dynamical evolution of a Brownian particle in an inhomogeneous medium with spatially varying friction and temperature field is important to understand conceptually. It requires to address the basic problem of relative stability of states in nonequilibrium systems which has been a subject of debate for over several decades. The theoretical treatments adopted so far are mostly phenomenological in nature. In this work we give a microscopic treatment of this problem. We derive the Langevin equation of motion and the associated Fokker-Planck equation. The correct reduced description of the Kramers equation in the overdamped limit (Smoluchowski equation) is obtained. Our microscopic treatment may be helpful in understanding the working of thermal ratchets, a problem of much current interest.
Volume 94, 2020
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