Abstract:
In equilibrium systems, the conservation of the number of particles (or mass) leads to the equalization of the chemical potential throughout the system. Using a non-equilibrium generalization of the notion of chemical potential, we investigate the influence of disorder and of the balance of mass fluxes on the generalized chemical potential in the framework of stochastic mass transport models. We focus specifically on the issue of local mesurements of the chemical potential. We find that while local dynamical disorder does not affect the measurement process, the presence of large-scale geometrical heterogeneities (branching geometry) leads to unequal local measurement results in different points of the system. We interpret these results in terms of mass flux balance, and argue that the conditions for the global definition of the chemical potential still hold, but that local measurements fail to capture the global theoretical value.

Abstract:
On general grounds, a nonequilibrium temperature can be consistently defined from generalized fluctuation-dissipation relations only if it is independent of the observable considered. We argue that the dependence on the choice of observable generically occurs when the phase-space probability distribution is non-uniform on constant energy shells. We relate quantitatively this observable dependence to a fundamental characteristics of nonequilibrium systems, namely the Shannon entropy difference with respect to the equilibrium state with the same energy. This relation is illustrated on a mean-field model in contact with two heat baths at different temperatures.

Abstract:
The definition of a nonequilibrium temperature through generalized fluctuation-dissipation relations relies on the independence of the fluctuation-dissipation temperature from the observable considered. We argue that this observable independence is deeply related to the uniformity of the phase-space probability distribution on the hypersurfaces of constant energy. This property is shown explicitly on three different stochastic models, where observable-dependence of the fluctuation-dissipation temperature arises only when the uniformity of the phase-space distribution is broken. The first model is an energy transport model on a ring, with biased local transfer rules. In the second model, defined on a fully connected geometry, energy is exchanged with two heat baths at different temperatures, breaking the uniformity of the phase-space distribution. Finally, in the last model, the system is connected to a zero temperature reservoir, and preserves the uniformity of the phase-space distribution in the relaxation regime, leading to an observable-independent temperature.

Abstract:
Although the notion of mechanical noise is expected to play a key role in the non-linear rheology of athermally sheared amorphous systems, its characterization has so far remained elusive. Here, we show using molecular dynamic simulations that in spite of the presence of strong spatio-temporal correlations in the system, the local stress exhibits normal diffusion under the effect of the mechanical noise in the finite driving regime. The diffusion constant appears to be proportional to the mean plastic activity. Our data suggests that the corresponding proportionality constant is density independent, and can be directly related to the specific form of the rheological flow curve, pointing the way to a generic way of modeling mechanical noise in mean-field equations.

Abstract:
We investigate the effects of an electric current on the width of a stationary reaction zone in an irreversible A^- + B^+ -> C reaction-diffusion process. The ion dynamics of the electrolytes A = (A^+, A^-) and B = (B^+, B^-) is described by reaction-diffusion equations obeying local electroneutrality, and the stationary state is obtained by employing reservoirs of fixed electrolyte concentrations at the opposite ends of a finite domain. We find that the width of the reaction zone decreases when the current drives the reacting ions towards the reaction zone while it increases in the opposite case. The linear response of the width to the current is estimated by developing a phenomenological theory based on conservation laws, and on electroneutrality. The theory is found to reproduce numerical solutions to a good accuracy.

Abstract:
Considering a broad class of steady-state nonequilibrium systems for which some additive quantities are conserved by the dynamics, we introduce from a statistical approach intensive thermodynamic parameters (ITPs) conjugated to the conserved quantities. This definition does not require any detailed balance relation to be fulfilled. Rather, the system has to satisfy a general additivity property, which holds in most of the models usually considered in the literature, including those described by a matrix product ansatz with finite matrices. The main property of these ITPs is to take equal values in two subsystems, making them a powerful tool to describe nonequilibrium phase coexistence, as illustrated on different models. We finally discuss the issue of the equalization of ITPs when two different systems are put into contact. This issue is closely related to the possibility of measuring the ITPs using a small auxiliary system, in the same way as temperature is measured with a thermometer, and points at one of the major difficulties of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. In addition, an efficient alternative determination, based on the measure of fluctuations, is also proposed and illustrated.

Abstract:
Material design at submicron scales would be profoundly affected if the formation of precipitation patterns could be easily controlled. It would allow the direct building of bulk structures, in contrast to traditional techniques which consist of removing material in order to create patterns. Here, we discuss an extension of our recent proposal of using electrical currents to control precipitation bands which emerge in the wake of reaction fronts in A^{+} + B^{-} -> C reaction-diffusion processes. Our main result, based on simulating the reaction-diffusion-precipitation equations, is that the dynamics of the charged agents can be guided by an appropriately designed time-dependent electric current so that, in addition to the control of the band spacing, the width of the precipitation bands can also be tuned. This makes straightforward the encoding of information into precipitation patterns and, as an amusing example, we demonstrate the feasibility by showing how to encode a musical rhythm.

Abstract:
We present a theory of magnetization reversal due to thermal fluctuations in thin submicron-scale rings composed of soft magnetic materials. The magnetization in such geometries is more stable against reversal than that in thin needles and other geometries, where sharp ends or edges can initiate nucleation of a reversed state. The 2D ring geometry also allows us to evaluate the effects of nonlocal magnetostatic forces. We find a `phase transition', which should be experimentally observable, between an Arrhenius and a non-Arrhenius activation regime as magnetic field is varied in a ring of fixed size.

Abstract:
This study proposes a coherent scenario of the formation of permanent shear bands in the flow of yield stress materials. It is a well accepted point of view that flow in disordered media is occurring via local plastic events, corresponding to small size rearrangements, that yield a long range stress redistribution over the system. Within a minimalistic mesoscopic model that incorporates these local dynamics, we study the spatial organisation of the local plastic events. The most important parameter in this study is the typical restructuring time needed to regain the original structure after a local rearrangement. In agreement with a recent mean field study [Coussot \textit{et al., Eur. Phys. J. E}, 2010, \textbf{33}, 183] we observe a spontaneous formation of permanent shear bands, when this restructuring time is large compared to the typical stress release time in a rearrangement. The bands consist of a large number of plastic events within a solid region that remains elastic. This heterogeneous flow behaviour is different in nature from the transient dynamical heterogeneities that one observes in the small shear rate limit in flow without shear-banding [Martens \textit{et al., Phys. Rev. Lett.}, 2011, \textbf{106}, 156001]. We analyse in detail the dependence of the shear bands on system size, shear rate and restructuring time. Further we rationalise the scenario within a mean field version of the spatial model, that produces a non monotonous flow curve for large restructuring times. This explains the instability of the homogeneous flow below a critical shear rate, that corresponds to the minimum of the curve. Our study therefore strongly supports the idea that the characteristic time scales involved in the local dynamics are at the physical origin of permanent shear bands.

Abstract:
We report on the control of the faceting of crystal surfaces by means of surface electromigration. When electromigration reinforces the faceting instability, we find perpetual coarsening with a wavelength increasing as $t^{1/2}$. For strongly stabilizing electromigration, the surface is stable. For weakly stabilizing electromigration, a cellular pattern is obtained, with a nonlinearly selected wavelength. The selection mechanism is not caused by an instability of steady-states, as suggested by previous works in the literature. Instead, the dynamics is found to exhibit coarsening {\it before} reaching a continuous family of stable non-equilibrium steady-states.