What can stochastic resonance do?

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Stochastic resonance1,2,3 is often defined as a noise-induced rise (and then fall, for higher noise intensities) of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of a weak narrow-band signal in a nonlinear system. Various applications of this phenomenon are being explored, in particular the possibility that stochastic resonance might help enable biological cells to respond to weak 50-60-Hz electromagnetic fields, far below the thermal noise level4,5. We therefore feel that its place within the broader physics context should be specified more clearly. Specifically, what stochastic resonance can, and cannot, be expected to do.

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