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Physics  2009 

Relaxation of a Colloidal Particle into a Nonequilibrium Steady State

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.79.060104

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We study the relaxation of a single colloidal sphere which is periodically driven between two nonequilibrium steady states. Experimentally, this is achieved by driving the particle along a toroidal trap imposed by scanned optical tweezers. We find that the relaxation time after which the probability distributions have been relaxed is identical to that obtained by a steady state measurement. In quantitative agreement with theoretical calculations the relaxation time strongly increases when driving the system further away from thermal equilibrium.


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