Mesoscopic Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics
Non-equilibrium thermodynamics provides a description of irreversible processes taking place in macroscopic systems. This description is restricted to the linear domain of fluxes and thermodynamic forces. Moreover, at macroscopic scales, the size of the fluctuations is small. Non-linearities and fluctuations are two important ingredients in the behaviour of mesoscopic (small scale) systems. Far from equilibrium the proper description of macroscopic systems is often no longer linear. Chemical reactions, which will be discussed in detail, constitute an important example. The reduced size of the system makes the relative size of fluctuations important. A probabilistic non-equilibrium thermodynamics description: mesoscopic non-equilibrium thermodynamics permits the extension of thermodynamics deep into mesoscopic and irreversible regimes.