Avalanche dynamics of elastic interfaces
Physical Review E
Slowly driven elastic interfaces, such as domain walls in dirty magnets, contact lines, or cracks proceed via intermittent motion, called avalanches. We develop a field-theoretic treatment to calculate, from first principles, the space-time statistics of instantaneous velocities within an avalanche. For elastic interfaces at (or above) their (internal) upper critical dimension d >= d_uc (d_uc = 2, 4 respectively for long-ranged and short-ranged elasticity) we show that the field theory for the
... eld theory for the center of mass reduces to the motion of a point particle in a random-force landscape, which is itself a random walk (ABBM model). Furthermore, the full spatial dependence of the velocity correlations is described by the Brownian-force model (BFM) where each point of the interface sees an independent Brownian-force landscape. Both ABBM and BFM can be solved exactly in any dimension d (for monotonous driving) by summing tree graphs, equivalent to solving a (non-linear) instanton equation. This tree approximation is the mean-field theory (MFT) for realistic interfaces in short-ranged disorder. Both for the center of mass, and for a given Fourier mode q, we obtain probability distribution functions (PDF's) of the velocity, as well as the avalanche shape and its fluctuations (second shape). Within MFT we find that velocity correlations at non-zero q are asymmetric under time reversal. Next we calculate, beyond MFT, i.e. including loop corrections, the 1-time PDF of the center-of-mass velocity du/dt for dimension d< d_uc. The singularity at small velocity P(du/dt) ~ 1/(du/dt)^a is substantially reduced from a=1 (MFT) to a = 1 - 2/9 (4-d) + ... (short-ranged elasticity) and a = 1 - 4/9 (2-d) + ... (long-ranged elasticity). We show how the dynamical theory recovers the avalanche-size distribution, and how the instanton relates to the response to an infinitesimal step in the force.