Non-normalizable quasi-equilibrium solution of the Fokker–Planck equation for nonconfining fields

Celia Anteneodo, Lucianno Defaveri, Eli Barkai, David A. Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We investigate the overdamped Langevin motion for particles in a potential well that is asymptotically flat. When the potential well is deep as compared to the temperature, physical observables, like the mean square displacement, are essentially time-independent over a long time interval, the stagnation epoch. However, the standard Boltzmann–Gibbs (BG) distribution is non-normalizable, given that the usual partition function is divergent. For this regime, we have previously shown that a regularization of BG statistics allows for the prediction of the values of dynamical and thermodynamical observables in the non-normalizable quasi-equilibrium state. In this work, based on the eigenfunction expansion of the time-dependent solution of the associated Fokker–Planck equation with free boundary conditions, we obtain an approximate time-independent solution of the BG form, being valid for times that are long, but still short as compared to the exponentially large escape time. The escaped particles follow a general free-particle statistics, where the solution is an error function, which is shifted due to the initial struggle to overcome the potential well. With the eigenfunction solution of the Fokker–Planck equation in hand, we show the validity of the regularized BG statistics and how it perfectly describes the time-independent regime though the quasi-stationary state is non-normalizable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Boltzmann-Gibbs regularization
  • Non-confining fields
  • Quasi-equilibrium


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