97-366 Cirillo E.N.M., Lebowitz J.L.
Metastability in the two-dimensional Ising model with free boundary conditions (117K, uuencoded and gzipped PostScript file) Jun 21, 97
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Abstract. We investigate metastability in the two dimensional Ising model in a square with free boundary conditions at low temperatures. Starting with all spins down in a small positive magnetic field, we show that the exit from this metastable phase occurs via the nucleation of a critical droplet in one of the four corners of the system. We compute the lifetime of the metastable phase analytically in the limit $T\to 0$, $h\to 0$ and via Monte Carlo simulations at fixed values of $T$ and $h$ and find good agreement. This system models the effects of boundary domains in magnetic storage systems exiting from a metastable phase when a small external field is applied.

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