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The fluctuation-dissipation theorem says that the linear response of a given system to an external perturbation is expressed as the fluctuation properties of the system in thermal equilibrium.

Does this mean that the spontaneous fluctuations cause instantaneous non-equilibrium, and the long-time average is the equilibrium?

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Yes. The theorem also quantifies how far from equilibrium the system is likely to fluctuate and how quickly it is expected to return to equilibrium.

Details are described in Evans and Searles “The Fluctuation Theorem”. Advances in Physics. 2002. 51(7): 1529-85. https://doi.org/10.1080/00018730210155133

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot, could you please show me a reference? I'd like to go through it in detail. $\endgroup$ – chain Jan 27 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest doi.org/10.1080/00018730210155133 and will add it to the answer $\endgroup$ – Dale Jan 27 at 21:31

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