The Rate of Energy Dissipation Determines Probabilities of Non-equilibrium Assemblies


  • This work was supported by the Non-equilibrium Energy Research Center (NERC), which is an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0000989. The authors are grateful to the Poznań Supercomputing Center (PCSS) in Poland for supporting thousands of hours of supercomputer time.


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Outside thermodynamic equilibrium, outcomes of self-assembly can be dictated not by energy but by the energy dissipation rate. Remarkably, non-equilibrium self-assembly can lead to both low- and high-dissipation structures. The latter, thermodynamically more wasteful structures are exponentially less probable with increasing dissipation rate. This dependence is quantified in a Boltzmann-like relation for non-equilibrium systems.