Lévy flights in inhomogeneous media

Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 170601


We investigate the impact of external periodic potentials on superdiffusive random walks known as Lévy flights and show that even strongly superdiffusive transport is substantially affected by the external field. Unlike ordinary random walks, Lévy flights are surprisingly sensitive to the shape of the potential while their asymptotic behavior ceases to depend on the Lévy index μ . Our analysis is based on a novel generalization of the Fokker-Planck equation suitable for systems in thermal equilibrium. Thus, the results presented are applicable to the large class of situations in which superdiffusion is caused by topological complexity, such as diffusion on folded polymers and scale-free networks.

Dirk Brockmann
Dirk Brockmann

Head of Research on Complex Systems Group