Hidden entropy production and work fluctuations in an ideal active gas

Suraj Shankar, M. Cristina Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Collections of self-propelled particles that move persistently by continuously consuming free energy are a paradigmatic example of active matter. In these systems, unlike Brownian "hot colloids," the breakdown of detailed balance yields a continuous production of entropy at steady state, even for an ideal active gas. We quantify the irreversibility for a noninteracting active particle in two dimensions by treating both conjugated and time-reversed dynamics. By starting with underdamped dynamics, we identify a hidden rate of entropy production required to maintain persistence and prevent the rapidly relaxing momenta from thermalizing, even in the limit of very large friction. Additionally, comparing two popular models of self-propulsion with identical dissipation on average, we find that the fluctuations and large deviations in work done are markedly different, providing thermodynamic insight into the varying extents to which macroscopically similar active matter systems may depart from equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number020604
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 30 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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