How a finite potential barrier decreases the mean first-passage time

Vladimir V. Palyulin, Ralf Metzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the mean first-passage time of a random walker moving in a potential landscape on a finite interval, the starting and end points being at different potentials. From analytical calculations and Monte Carlo simulations we demonstrate that the mean first-passage time for a piecewise linear curve between these two points is minimized by the introduction of a potential barrier. Due to thermal fluctuations, this barrier may be crossed. It turns out that the corresponding expense for this activation is less severe than the gain from an increased slope towards the end point. In particular, the resulting mean first-passage time is shorter than for a linear potential drop between the two points.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL03001
JournalJournal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • diffusion


Dive into the research topics of 'How a finite potential barrier decreases the mean first-passage time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this