Finite-time generalization of the thermodynamic uncertainty relation
AbstractFor fluctuating currents in nonequilibrium steady states, the recently discovered thermodynamic uncertainty relation expresses a fundamental relation between their variance and the overall entropic cost associated with the driving. We show that this relation holds not only for the long-time limit of fluctuations, as described by large deviation theory, but also for fluctuations on arbitrary finite time scales. This generalization facilitates applying the thermodynamic uncertainty relation to single molecule experiments, for which infinite time scales are not accessible. Importantly, often this finite-time variant of the relation allows inferring a bound on the entropy production that is even stronger than the one obtained from the long-time limit. We illustrate the relation for the fluctuating work that is performed by a stochastically switching laser tweezer on a trapped colloidal particle.