Noisy zigzag transition, fluctuations, and thermal bifurcation threshold

Jean-Baptiste Delfau, Christophe Coste, Michel Saint Jean
2013 Physical Review E  
We study the zigzag transition in a system of particles with screened electrostatic interaction, submitted to a thermal noise. At finite temperature, this configurational phase transition is an example of noisy supercritical pitchfork bifurcation. The measurements of transverse fluctuations allow a complete description of the bifurcation region, which takes place between the deterministic threshold and a thermal threshold beyond which thermal fluctuations do not allow the system to flip between
more » ... tem to flip between the symmetric zigzag configurations. We show that a divergence of the saturation time for the transverse fluctuations allows a precise and unambiguous definition of this thermal threshold. Its evolution with the temperature is shown to be in good agreement with theoretical predictions from noisy bifurcation theory.
doi:10.1103/physreve.87.062135 pmid:23848655 fatcat:5mefumgtwjct3nr7qgoy5ne6iu