|InterJournal Complex Systems, 1048
|Manuscript Number: |
Submission Date: 2004
|Escape from Metastable States in a Nonequilibrium Environment|
We review in this paper some results on metastability in a two-dimensional Ising ferromagnet relaxing toward a nonequilibrium steady state. Nucleation in this case may be understood in terms of a nonequilibrium free energy, which predicts Noise Enhanced Stability of the metastable state for low temperature in a nonequilibrium environment. This is a consequence of the anomalous, non-monotonous temperature dependence of the nonequilibrium surface tension. In addition, when subject to both open boundaries and nonequilibrium noise, the metastable system decays via well-defined avalanches. These exhibit power-law size and lifetime distributions. We expect some of these results to be verificable in actual (impure) specimens.
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