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Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 160201 (2005)

Metastability for Markov Processes with Detailed Balance

Hern?n Larralde and Fran?ois Leyvraz
Centro de Ciencias F?sicas, UNAM, Apartado postal 48-3, CP 62251 Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

(Received 15 December 2004; published 28 April 2005)

We present a definition for metastable states applicable to arbitrary finite state Markov processes satisfying detailed balance. In particular, we identify a crucial condition that distinguishes metastable states from other slow decaying modes and which allows us to show that our definition has several desirable properties similar to those postulated in the restricted ensemble approach. The intuitive physical meaning of this condition is simply that the total equilibrium probability of finding the system in the metastable state is negligible. ?2005 The American Physical Society

URL: http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v94/e160201
PACS: 02.50.Ga, 05.20.Gg, 05.70.Ln

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