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Large fluctuations and irreversibility in nonequilibrium systems.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1999
JournalNonlinear Phenomena in Complex Systems
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


Large rare fluctuations in a nonequilibrium system are investigated theoretically and by analogue electronic experiment. It is emphasized that the optimal paths calculated via the eikonal approximation of the Fokker-Planck equation can be identified with the locus of the ridges of the prehistory probability distributions which can be calculated and measured experimentally for paths terminating at a given final point in configuration sspace. The pattern of optimal paths and its singularities, such as caustics, cusps and switching lines has been calculated and measured experimentally for a periodically driven overdamped oscillator, yielding results that are shown to be in good agreement with each other.