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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Sep 7;99(10):100602. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

Measuring thermodynamic length.

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Physical Bioscience Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Thermodynamic length is a metric distance between equilibrium thermodynamic states. Among other interesting properties, this metric asymptotically bounds the dissipation induced by a finite time transformation of a thermodynamic system. It is also connected to the Jensen-Shannon divergence, Fisher information, and Rao's entropy differential metric. Therefore, thermodynamic length is of central interest in understanding matter out of equilibrium. In this Letter, we will consider how to define thermodynamic length for a small system described by equilibrium statistical mechanics and how to measure thermodynamic length within a computer simulation. Surprisingly, Bennett's classic acceptance ratio method for measuring free energy differences also measures thermodynamic length.

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