The researchers now moved the fluid cell forward and backward at a frequency of 54 Hertz, so that the latex ball floating in it moved at that frequency through the focal point of the laser beam. Using a high-speed camera, the team captured the location of the bullet a thousand times a second. This made it possible to determine the trajectories of the sphere, which in turn allowed us to determine the forces acting and the entropy changes associated with this movement.
Indeed, among the recorded trajectories, there were some where the system consumed entropy during one cycle and thus violated the second law of thermodynamics. However, this entropy decrease was only observed with very short observation times of a few fractions of a second. An entropy balance of this process carried out over a few tenths of a second could actually show an entropy decrease? however, when the balance was made over several seconds, entropy increased.
The researchers were able to confirm a theory they had established ten years ago. In their so-called fluctuation thesis, they predicted that small systems could consume entropy over short periods of time. display
The entropy decrease could be important for the functioning of nanomachines. If their entropy decreases, they would run "backwards". According to the researchers, fluctuation theory can also be applied to the study of biological protein engines.Stefan Maier