Concentration fluctuations in non-isothermal reaction-diffusion systems. II. The nonlinear case

In this paper, we consider a simple reaction-diffusion system, namely, a binary fluid mixture with an association-dissociation reaction between two species. We study fluctuations at hydrodynamic spatiotemporal scales when this mixture is driven out of equilibrium by the presence of a temperature gradient, while still being far away from any chemical instability. This study extends the analysis in our first paper on the subject [J. M. Ortiz de Zarate, J. V. Sengers, D. Bedeaux, and S. Kjelstrup, J. Chem. Phys. 127, 034501 (2007)], where we considered fluctuations in a non-isothermal reaction-diffusion system but still close to equilibrium. The present extension is based on mesoscopic non-equilibrium thermodynamics that we recently developed [D. Bedeaux, I. Pagonabarraga, J. M. Ortiz de Zarate, J. V. Sengers, and S. Kjelstrup, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 12, 12780 (2010)] to derive the law of mass action and fluctuation-dissipation theorems for the random contributions to the dissipative fluxes in the nonlinear macroscopic description. Just as for non-equilibrium fluctuations close to equilibrium, we again find an enhancement of the intensity of the concentration fluctuations in the presence of a temperature gradient. The non-equilibrium concentration fluctuations are in both cases spatially long ranged, with an intensity depending on the wave number q. The intensity exhibits a crossover from a proportional to q(-4) to a proportional to q(-2) behavior depending on whether the corresponding wavelength is smaller or larger than the penetration depth of the reacting mixture. This opens a possibility to distinguish between diffusion-or activation-controlled regimes of the reaction experimentally. The important conclusion overall is that non-equilibrium fluctuations in non-isothermal reaction-diffusion systems are always long ranged. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3640010]