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How stickiness can speed up diffusion in confined systems

Abstract : The paradigmatic model for heterogeneous media used in diffusion studies is built from reflecting obstacles and surfaces. It is well known that the crowding effect produced by these reflecting surfaces slows the dispersion of Brownian tracers. Here, using a general adsorption desorption model with surface diffusion, we show analytically that making surfaces or obstacles attractive can accelerate dispersion. In particular, we show that this enhancement of diffusion can exist even when the surface diffusion constant is smaller than that in the bulk. Even more remarkably, this enhancement effect occurs when the effective diffusion constant, when restricted to surfaces only, is lower than the effective diffusivity with purely reflecting boundaries. We give analytical formulas for this intriguing effect in periodic arrays of spheres as well as undulating micro-channels. Our results are confirmed by numerical calculations and Monte Carlo simulations.
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Contributor : THOMAS GUERIN Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 11:10:15 AM
Last modification on : Friday, June 10, 2022 - 3:35:26 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, September 3, 2022 - 6:51:18 PM


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A. Alexandre, Thomas Guérin, M. Mangeat, D. S. Dean. How stickiness can speed up diffusion in confined systems. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2022, 128 (21), pp.210601. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.128.210601⟩. ⟨hal-03685547⟩



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