Transition-rate theory for nongradient drift fields

Robert S. Maier, D. L. Stein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Classical transition-rate theory provides analytic techniques for computing the asymptotics of a weakly perturbed particle's mean residence time in the basin of attraction of a metastable state. If the dynamics of the particle are derivable from a potential, it typically escapes over a saddle point. In the nonpotential case exit may take place over an unstable point instead, leading to unexpected phenomena. These may include an anomalous pre-exponential factor, with a continuously varying exponent, in the residence time asymptotics. Moreover, the most probable escape trajectories may eventually deviate from the least-action escape path.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3691-3695
    Number of pages5
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Issue number26
    StatePublished - 1992

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Physics and Astronomy


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