Brownian motion with active fluctuations

Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jun 10;106(23):230601. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.230601. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


We study the effect of different types of fluctuation on the motion of self-propelled particles in two spatial dimensions. We distinguish between passive and active fluctuations. Passive fluctuations (e.g., thermal fluctuations) are independent of the orientation of the particle. In contrast, active ones point parallel or perpendicular to the time dependent orientation of the particle. We derive analytical expressions for the speed and velocity probability density for a generic model of active Brownian particles, which yields an increased probability of low speeds in the presence of active fluctuations in comparison to the case of purely passive fluctuations. As a consequence, we predict sharply peaked Cartesian velocity probability densities at the origin. Finally, we show that such a behavior may also occur in non-Gaussian active fluctuations and discuss briefly correlations of the fluctuating stochastic forces.