Metastability effects in bootstrap percolation

A. Aizenman, J. L. Lebowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


Bootstrap percolation models, or equivalently certain types of cellular automata, exhibit interesting finite-volume effects. These are studied here at a rigorous level. We find that for an initial configuration obtained by placing particles independently with probability p«1, at sites of Zd(d≥2), the density of the ‘bootstrapped’ (final) configurations in the sequence of cubes (−L/2 , L/2)d typically undergoes an abrupt transition, as L is increased, from being close to 0 to the value 1. With L fixed at a large value, the mean finaldensity as a function of p changes from 0 to 1 around a value which varies only slowly with L— pertinent parameter beingλ=p1/(d−1) In L. The driving mechanism is the capture of a ‘critical droplet’. This behaviour is analogous to the decay of a metastable statenear a first-order phase transition, for which the present analysis offers some suggestive ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3801-3813
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and General
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 7 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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