Domain coarsening and interface kinetics in the Ising model
Olejarz, Jason William
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In this thesis, I investigate in detail two basic problems in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. First, if a spin system such as a kinetic Ising model or a kinetic Potts model is quenched from supercritical temperature to subcritical temperature, how does the system coarsen, and what complexities arise as the system descends in energy toward one of its equilibrium states? Second, if a kinetic Ising model is evolved from a deterministic initial condition at zero temperature, how do the domain interfaces evolve in time? I first study the nonconserved coarsening of the kinetic spin systems mentioned above. The coarsening of a 2d ferromagnet can be described exactly by an intriguing connection with continuum critical percolation. Furthermore, careful simulations of phase ordering in the 3d Ising model at zero temperature reveal strange nonstatic final states and anomalously slow relaxation modes, which we explain in detail. I find similarly rich phenomena in the zero-temperature evolution of a kinetic Potts model in 2d, where glassy behavior is again manifest. We also find large-scale avalanches in which clusters merge and dramatically expand beyond their original convex hulls at late times in the dynamics. Next, I study the geometrically simpler problem of the evolution of a single corner interface in the Ising model. We extend prior work by investigating the Ising Hamiltonian with longer interaction range. We solve exactly the limiting shapes of the corner interface in 2d for several interaction ranges. In 3d, where analytical treatments are notoriously difficult, we develop novel methods for studying corner interface growth. I conjecture a growth equation for the interface that agrees quite well with simulation data, and I discuss the interface's surprising geometrical features. In the summary, I discuss the broader implications of our findings and offer some thoughts on possible directions for future work.
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