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Optimal fits of diffusion constants from single-time data points of Brownian trajectories

E.T.S.I. Agrónomos (UPM)
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  • Física
  • Biology


Experimental methods based on single particle tracking (SPT) are being increasingly employed in the physical and biological sciences, where nanoscale objects are visualized with high temporal and spatial resolution. SPT can probe interactions between a particle and its environment but the price to be paid is the absence of ensemble averaging and a consequent lack of statistics. Here we address the benchmark question of how to accurately extract the diffusion constant of one single Brownian trajectory. We analyze a class of estimators based on weighted functionals of the square displacement. For a certain choice of the weight function these functionals provide the true ensemble averaged diffusion coefficient, with a precision that increases with the trajectory resolution.

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