Escape from a fluctuating system: A master equation and trapping approach

Arie Bar-Haim*, Joseph Klafter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a general solution for the mean exit time in a system with on-site fluctuations between two configurations described by a master equation. The coupled configurations represent a spatially discretized version of an escape over a fluctuating barrier [C. R. Doering and J. C. Gadoua, Phys. Rev. Lett. 69, 2318 (1992)], and passage through modulating channels. Based on the general properties of the mean exit time, we obtain a simple solution for a coupled “birth” and “death” case that exhibits resonant activation. Within this exactly solvable model we derive analytically the optimal fluctuating rate, which is sensitive to the initial condition and scales as [Formula Presented] where n is the system size. Our approach unifies a number of escape problems and points towards the generality of resonant activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2554-2558
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


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