electronic international standard serial number (EISSN)
Equations describing the evolution of particles, solitons, or localized structures, driven by a zero-average, periodic, external force, and invariant under time reversal and a half-period time shift, exhibit a ratchet current when the driving force breaks these symmetries. The biharmonic force f(t)=1 cos(qomegat+phi1)+2 cospomegat+phi2) does it for almost any choice of vphi1 and phi2, provided p and q are two coprime integers such that p+q is odd. It has been widely observed, in experiments in semiconductors, in Josephson junctions, photonic crystals, etc., as well as in simulations, that the ratchet current induced by this force has the shape v proportional, variant1p2q cos(pphi1-qphi2+theta0) for small amplitudes, where theta0 depends on the damping ( theta0=pi/2 if there is no damping, and theta0=0 for overdamped systems). We rigorously prove that this precise shape can be obtained solely from the broken symmetries of the system and is independent of the details of the equation describing the system.