Repository: Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Math Department

The mean shape of transition and first-passage paths

Kim, W.K. and Netz, R.R. (2015) The mean shape of transition and first-passage paths. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 143 (224108).


Official URL:


Based on the one-dimensional Fokker-Planck equation in an arbitrary free energy landscape including a general inhomogeneous diffusivity profile, we analytically calculate the mean shape of transition paths and first-passage paths, where the shape of a path is defined as the kinetic profile in the plane spanned by the mean time and the position. The transition path ensemble is the collection of all paths that do not revisit the start position xA and that terminate when first reaching the final position xB. In contrast, a first-passage path can revisit its start position xA before it terminates at xB. Our theoretical framework employs the forward and backward Fokker-Planck equations as well as first-passage, passage, last-passage, and transition-path time distributions, for which we derive the defining integral equations.We show that the mean shape of transition paths, in other words the mean time at which the transition path ensemble visits an intermediate position x, is equivalent to the mean first-passage time of reaching the position xA when starting from x without ever visiting xB. The mean shape of first-passage paths is related to the mean shape of transition paths by a constant time shift. Since for a large barrier height U, the mean first-passage time scales exponentially in U, while the mean transition path time scales linearly inversely in U, the time shift between first-passage and transition path shapes is substantial. We present explicit examples of transition path shapes for linear and harmonic potentials and illustrate our findings by trajectories obtained from Brownian dynamics simulations.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Physical Sciences
Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Mathematics > Applied Mathematics
ID Code:1891
Deposited By: Ulrike Eickers
Deposited On:16 Mar 2016 19:28
Last Modified:03 Mar 2017 14:42

Repository Staff Only: item control page