Scarce defects induce anomalous diffusion

M. Hidalgo-Soria, R. Salgado-García

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3 Scopus citations


We introduce a simple model of deterministic particles in weakly disordered media which exhibits a transition from normal to anomalous diffusion. The model consists of a set of non-interacting overdamped particles moving on a disordered potential. The disordered potential can be thought as a substrate having some 'defects' scattered along a one-dimensional line. The distance between two contiguous defects is assumed to have a heavy-tailed distribution with a given exponent α, which means that the defects along the substrate are scarce if α is small. We prove that this system exhibits a transition from normal to anomalous diffusion when the distribution exponent α decreases, i.e. when the defects become scarcer. Thus we identify three distinct scenarios: a normal diffusive phase for , a superdiffusive phase for , and a subdiffusive phase for . We also prove that the particle current is finite for all the values of α, which means that the transport is normal independently of the diffusion regime (normal, subdiffusive, or superdiffusive). We give analytical expressions for the effective diffusion coefficient for the normal diffusive phase and analytical expressions for the diffusion exponent in the case of anomalous diffusion. We test all these predictions by means of numerical simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043301
JournalJournal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

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© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd and SISSA Medialab srl.


  • diffusion
  • diffusion in random media
  • exact results
  • transport properties


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