Abstract

We study nonequilibrium phase transitions in the presence of disorder that locally breaks the symmetry between two equivalent macroscopic states. In low-dimensional equilibrium systems, such random-field disorder is known to have dramatic effects: it prevents spontaneous symmetry breaking and completely destroys the phase transition. In contrast, we show that the phase transition of the one-dimensional generalized contact process persists in the presence of random-field disorder. The ultraslow dynamics in the symmetry-broken phase is described by a Sinai walk of the domain walls between two different absorbing states. We discuss the generality and limitations of our theory, and we illustrate our results by large-scale Monte Carlo simulations.

Department(s)

Physics

Keywords and Phrases

Absorbing state; Contact process; Equilibrium systems; Macroscopic state; Monte Carlo Simulation; Nonequilibrium phase transitions; Random fields; Spontaneous symmetry breaking; Atomic physics; Physics

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0031-9007

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2012 American Physical Society (APS), All rights reserved.

Included in

Physics Commons

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