Fluctuation Theorems and the Dissipation Function: Insight for Thermodynamics

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Debra Bernhardt

The fluctuation theorems are exact nonequilibrium thermodynamic relations. They were developed almost 20 years ago and can be considered as a generalization of the 2nd Law of thermodynamics to small systems and nonequilibrium systems.  Since they were first obtained, the relations have been applied to develop a number of new results including the dissipation theorem, the relaxation theorem and to derive well know results such as Boltzmann’s postulate of equal a priori probability and Clausius’s theorem. Here we will discuss the fluctuation theorem, the dissipation function and some of the results that they lead to.