Quantum Breaking of Elastic String

Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 370 – Published 17 July 1995
L. S. Levitov, A. V. Shytov, and A. Yu. Yakovets


Breaking of an atomic chain under stress is a collective many-particle tunneling phenomenon. We study classical dynamics in imaginary time by using a conformal mapping technique, and derive an analytic formula for the probability of breaking. The result covers a broad temperature interval and interpolates between two regimes: tunneling and thermal activation. Also, we consider the breaking induced by an ultrasonic wave propagating in the chain, and propose to observe it in a scanning tunneling microscopy experiment.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.75.370

  • Received 29 June 1994
  • Published in the issue dated 17 July 1995

© 1995 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

L. S. Levitov1,2, A. V. Shytov2, and A. Yu. Yakovets2

  • 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
  • 2L. D. Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, 2 Kosygin street, Moscow 117334, Russia

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