04-175 A. Bovier (WIAS), F. den Hollander (EURANDOM), F. Nardi (Roma 1)
Sharp asymptotics for Kawasaki dynamics on a finite box with open boundary (1011K, PS) Jun 3, 04
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Abstract. In this paper we study the metastable behavior of the lattice gas in two and three dimensions subject to Kawasaki dynamics in the limit of low temperature and low density. We consider the local version of the model, where particles live on a finite box and are created, respectively, annihilated at the boundary of the box in a way that reflects an infinite gas reservoir. We are interested in how the system nucleates, i.e., how it reaches a full box when it starts from an empty box. Our approach combines geometric and potential theoretic arguments. In two dimensions, we identify the full geometry of the set of critical droplets for the nucleation, compute the average nucleation time up to a multiplicative factor that tends to one in the limit of low temperature and low density, express the proportionality constant in terms of certain capacities associated with simple random walk, and compute the asymptotic behavior of this constant as the system size tends to infinity. In three dimensions, we obtain similar results but with less control over the geometry and the constant. A special feature of Kawasaki dynamics is that in the metastable regime particles move along the border of a droplet more rapidly than they arrive from the boundary of the box. The geometry of the critical droplet and the sharp asymptotics for the average nucleation time are highly sensitive to this motion.

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