## Abstract

Diffusive operations, which mix the populations of different elements of phase space, can irreversibly transform a given initial state into any of a spectrum of different states from which no further energy can be extracted through diffusive operations. We call these ground states. The lower bound of accessible ground-state energies represents the maximal possible release of energy. This lower bound, sometimes called the diffusively accessible free energy, is of interest in theories of instabilities and wave-particle interactions. On the other hand, the upper bound of accessible ground-state energies has escaped identification as a problem of interest. Yet, as demonstrated here, in the case of a continuous system, it is precisely this upper bound that corresponds to the paradigmatic "quasilinear plateau"ground state of the bump-on-tail distribution. Although for general discrete systems the complexity of calculating the upper bound grows rapidly with the number of states, using techniques adapted from treatments of the lower bound, the upper bound can in fact be computed directly for the three-state discrete system.

Original language | English (US) |
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Article number | 055209 |

Journal | Physical Review E |

Volume | 106 |

Issue number | 5 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Nov 15 2022 |

## All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics