The main objective of this paper is to examine in some detail the dynamics and fluctuations in the critical situation for a simple model exhibiting bistable macroscopic behavior. The model under consideration is a dynamic model of a collection of anharmonic oscillators in a two-well potential together with an attractive mean-field interaction. The system is studied in the limit as the number of oscillators goes to infinity. The limit is described by a nonlinear partial differential equation and the existence of a phase transition for this limiting system is established. The main result deals with the fluctuations at the critical point in the limit as the number of oscillators goes to infinity. It is established that these fluctuations are non-Gaussian and occur at a time scale slower than the noncritical fluctuations. The method used is based on the perturbation theory for Markov processes developed by Papanicolaou, Stroock, and Varadhan adapted to the context of probability-measure-valued processes.

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Journal of Statistical Physics
School of Mathematics and Statistics

Dawson, D.A. (1983). Critical dynamics and fluctuations for a mean-field model of cooperative behavior. Journal of Statistical Physics, 31(1), 29–85. doi:10.1007/BF01010922