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Entropy production fluctuations encode collective behavior in active matter.


We derive a general lower bound on distributions of entropy production in interacting active matter systems. The bound is tight in the limit that interparticle correlations are small and short-ranged, which we explore in four canonical active matter models. In all models studied, the bound is weak where collective fluctuations result in long-ranged correlations, which subsequently links the locations of phase transitions to enhanced entropy production fluctuations. We develop a theory for the onset of enhanced fluctuations and relate it to specific phase transitions in active Brownian particles. We also derive optimal control forces that realize the dynamics necessary to tune dissipation and manipulate the system between phases. In so doing, we uncover a general relationship between entropy production and pattern formation in active matter, as well as ways of controlling it.

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