Chapter

Activated switching in nonlinear micromechanical resonators

H. B. Chan and C. Stambaugh

in Fluctuating Nonlinear Oscillators

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691388
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742255 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691388.003.0003
Activated switching in nonlinear micromechanical resonators

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This chapter reviews a series of experiments on Gaussian noise-induced switching in nonlinear micromechanical torsional resonators that are periodically driven into multistability, a system that is out of equilibrium and lacks detail balance. Even though switching is random, the trajectories in phase space are concentrated around the most probable switching path (MPSP). By introducing the concept of switching path distribution, the MPSP is directly measured. The chapter also discusses the generic phenomenon of activation barrier scaling near a bifurcation point. Power law dependences of the activation barrier on the driving frequency are measured. Depending on the type of bifurcation, different exponents are obtained. The final section describes critical kinetic phenomena in an oscillator resonantly driven into bistability, at the parameter range where the population of the two states are about equal. The chapter also presents an observation of a kinetic phase transition characterized by the appearance of a supernarrow spectral peak and noise-enhanced frequency mixing.

Keywords: fluctuations; noise; switching; nonlinear resonators; multistability; bistable systems; bifurcation; out of equilibrium; switching path; trajectories

Chapter.  16508 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Mathematical and Statistical Physics

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