Transition from distributional to ergodic behavior in an inhomogeneous diffusion process: Method revealing an unknown surface diffusivity.

Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics

PubMedID: 26382351

Akimoto T, Seki K. Transition from distributional to ergodic behavior in an inhomogeneous diffusion process: Method revealing an unknown surface diffusivity. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2015;92(2-1):022114.
Diffusion of molecules in cells plays an important role in providing a biological reaction on the surface by finding a target on the membrane surface. The water retardation (slow diffusion) near the target assists the searching molecules to recognize the target. Here, we consider effects of the surface diffusivity on the effective diffusivity, where diffusion on the surface is slower than that in bulk. We show that the ensemble-averaged mean-square displacements increase linearly with time when the desorption rate from the surface is finite, which is valid even when the diffusion on the surface is anomalous (subdiffusion). Moreover, this slow diffusion on the surface affects the fluctuations of the time-averaged mean-square displacements (TAMSDs). We find that fluctuations of the TAMSDs remain large when the measurement time is smaller than a characteristic time, and decays according to an increase of the measurement time for a relatively large measurement time. Therefore, we find a transition from nonergodic (distributional) to ergodic diffusivity in a target search process. Moreover, this fluctuation analysis provides a method to estimate an unknown surface diffusivity.