Eigenvalue Crossing as a Phase Transition in Relaxation Dynamics

When a system’s parameter is abruptly changed, a relaxation toward the new equilibrium of the system follows. We show that a crossing between the second and third eigenvalues of the relaxation operator results in a singularity in the dynamics analogous to a first-order equilibrium phase transition. While dynamical phase transitions are intrinsically hard to detect in nature, here we show how this kind of transition can be observed in an experimentally feasible four-state colloidal system. Finally, analytical proof of survival in the thermodynamic limit of a many body (1D Ising) model is provided.

  • Received 14 November 2022
  • Accepted 7 April 2023


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Statistical Physics

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