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A considerable number of systems have recently been reported in which
Brownian yet non-Gaussian dynamics was observed. These are processes characterised by a linear growth in time of the mean squared displacement, yet the probability density function of the particle displacement is distinctly non-Gaussian, and often of exponential(Laplace) shape. This apparently ubiquitous behaviour observed in very different physical systems has been interpreted as resulting from diffusion in inhomogeneous environments and mathematically represented through a variable, stochastic diffusion coefficient. Indeed different models describing a fluctuating diffusivity have been studied. Here we present a new view of the stochastic basis describing time dependent random diffusivities within a broad spectrum of distributions. Concretely, our study is based on the very generic class of the generalised Gamma distribution. Two models for the particle spreading in such random diffusivity settings are studied. The first belongs to the class of generalised grey Brownian motion while the second follows from the idea of diffusing diffusivities. The two processes exhibit significant characteristics which reproduce experimental results from different biological and physical systems. We promote these two physical models for the description of stochastic particle motion in complex environments.

Brownian yet non-Gaussian dynamics was observed. These are processes characterised by a linear growth in time of the mean squared displacement, yet the probability density function of the particle displacement is distinctly non-Gaussian, and often of exponential(Laplace) shape. This apparently ubiquitous behaviour observed in very different physical systems has been interpreted as resulting from diffusion in inhomogeneous environments and mathematically represented through a variable, stochastic diffusion coefficient. Indeed different models describing a fluctuating diffusivity have been studied. Here we present a new view of the stochastic basis describing time dependent random diffusivities within a broad spectrum of distributions. Concretely, our study is based on the very generic class of the generalised Gamma distribution. Two models for the particle spreading in such random diffusivity settings are studied. The first belongs to the class of generalised grey Brownian motion while the second follows from the idea of diffusing diffusivities. The two processes exhibit significant characteristics which reproduce experimental results from different biological and physical systems. We promote these two physical models for the description of stochastic particle motion in complex environments.

Complex systems are known to display anomalous diffusion, whose signature is a space/time scaling x similar to t(delta) with delta not equal 1/2 in the probability density function (PDF). Anomalous diffusion can emerge jointly with both Gaussian, e.g. fractional Brownian motion, and power-law decaying distributions, e.g. Levy Flights or Levy Walks (LWs). Levy flights get anomalous scaling, but, being jumps of any size allowed even at short times, have infinite position variance, infinite energy and discontinuous paths. LWs, which are based on random trapping events, overcome these limitations: they resemble a Levy-type power-law distribution that is truncated in the large displacement range and have finite moments, finite energy and, even with discontinuous velocity, they are continuous. However, LWs do not take into account the role of strong heterogeneity in many complex systems, such as biological transport in the crowded cell environment. In this work we propose and discuss a model describing a heterogeneous ensemble of Brownian particles (HEBP). Velocity of each single particle obeys a standard underdamped Langevin equation for the velocity, with linear friction term and additive Gaussian noise. Each particle is characterized by its own relaxation time and velocity diffusivity. We show that, for proper distributions of relaxation time and velocity diffusivity, the HEBP resembles some LW statistical features, in particular power-law decaying PDF, long-range correlations and anomalous diffusion, at the same time keeping finite position moments and finite energy. The main differences between the HEBP model and two different LWs are investigated, finding that, even when both velocity and position PDFs are similar, they differ in four main aspects: (i) LWs are biscaling, while HEBP is monoscaling; (ii) a transition from anomalous (delta = 1/2) to normal (delta = 1/2) diffusion in the long-time regime is seen in the HEBP and not in LWs; (iii) the power-law index of the position PDF and the space/time diffusion scaling are independent in the HEBP, while they both depend on the scaling of the interevent time PDF in LWs; (iv) at variance with LWs, our HEBP model obeys a fluctuation-dissipation theorem.

Astandard approach to study time-dependent stochastic processes is the power spectral density (PSD), an ensemble-averaged property defined as the Fourier transform of the autocorrelation function of the process in the asymptotic limit of long observation times, T → ∞. In many experimental situations one is able to garner only relatively few stochastic time series of finite T, such that practically neither an ensemble average nor the asymptotic limit T → ∞ can be achieved. To accommodate for a meaningful analysis of such finite-length data we here develop the framework of single-trajectory spectral analysis for one of the standard models of anomalous diffusion, scaled Brownian motion.Wedemonstrate that the frequency dependence of the single-trajectory PSD is exactly the same as for standard Brownian motion, which may lead one to the erroneous conclusion that the observed motion is normal-diffusive. However, a distinctive feature is shown to be provided by the explicit dependence on the measurement time T, and this ageing phenomenon can be used to deduce the anomalous diffusion exponent.Wealso compare our results to the single-trajectory PSD behaviour of another standard anomalous diffusion process, fractional Brownian motion, and work out the commonalities and differences. Our results represent an important step in establishing singletrajectory PSDs as an alternative (or complement) to analyses based on the time-averaged mean squared displacement.

A rapidly increasing number of systems is identified in which the stochastic motion of tracer particles follows the Brownian law < r(2)(t)> similar or equal to Dt yet the distribution of particle displacements is strongly non-Gaussian. A central approach to describe this effect is the diffusing diffusivity (DD) model in which the diffusion coefficient itself is a stochastic quantity, mimicking heterogeneities of the environment encountered by the tracer particle on its path. We here quantify in terms of analytical and numerical approaches the first passage behaviour of the DD model. We observe significant modifications compared to Brownian-Gaussian diffusion, in particular that the DD model may have a faster first passage dynamics. Moreover we find a universal crossover point of the survival probability independent of the initial condition.

Stochastic models based on random diffusivities, such as the diffusing-diffusivity approach, are popular concepts for the description of non-Gaussian diffusion in heterogeneous media. Studies of these models typically focus on the moments and the displacement probability density function. Here we develop the complementary power spectral description for a broad class of random-diffusivity processes. In our approach we cater for typical single particle tracking data in which a small number of trajectories with finite duration are garnered. Apart from the diffusing-diffusivity model we study a range of previously unconsidered random-diffusivity processes, for which we obtain exact forms of the probability density function. These new processes are different versions of jump processes as well as functionals of Brownian motion. The resulting behaviour subtly depends on the specific model details. Thus, the central part of the probability density function may be Gaussian or non-Gaussian, and the tails may assume Gaussian, exponential, log-normal, or even power-law forms. For all these models we derive analytically the moment-generating function for the single-trajectory power spectral density. We establish the generic 1/f²-scaling of the power spectral density as function of frequency in all cases. Moreover, we establish the probability density for the amplitudes of the random power spectral density of individual trajectories. The latter functions reflect the very specific properties of the different random-diffusivity models considered here. Our exact results are in excellent agreement with extensive numerical simulations.

We study the extremal properties of a stochastic process xt defined by the Langevin equation ẋₜ =√2Dₜ ξₜ, in which ξt is a Gaussian white noise with zero mean and Dₜ is a stochastic‘diffusivity’, defined as a functional of independent Brownian motion Bₜ.We focus on threechoices for the random diffusivity Dₜ: cut-off Brownian motion, Dₜt ∼ Θ(Bₜ), where Θ(x) is the Heaviside step function; geometric Brownian motion, Dₜ ∼ exp(−Bₜ); and a superdiffusive process based on squared Brownian motion, Dₜ ∼ B²ₜ. For these cases we derive exact expressions for the probability density functions of the maximal positive displacement and of the range of the process xₜ on the time interval ₜ ∈ (0, T).We discuss the asymptotic behaviours of the associated probability density functions, compare these against the behaviour of the corresponding properties of standard Brownian motion with constant diffusivity (Dₜ = D0) and also analyse the typical behaviour of the probability density functions which is observed for a majority of realisations of the stochastic diffusivity process.