The problem of activated escape in a far-from-equilibrium system is analysed theoretically, numerically and by analogue electronic experiments. The process is shown to occur via optimal fluctuations that are well described, under diverse conditions, in terms of a new physical quantity, the logarithmic susceptibility (LS).
Copyright 2000 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in AIP Conference Proceedings, 511, 2000 and may be found at http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/proceeding/aipcp/10.1063/1.60005