A New Numerical Method to Study Phase Transitions
A powerful method of detecting first order transitions by numerical simulations of finite systems is presented. The method relies on simulations and the finite size scaling properties of free energy barriers between coexisting states. It is demonstrated that the first order transitions in d = 2, q = 5 and d = q = 3 Potts models are easily seen with modest computing time. The method can also be used to obtain quite accurate estimates of critical exponents by studying the barriers in the vicinity of a critical point. Some new results on exponents and conformal charge in frustrated XY models and a related coupled XY-Ising model in d = 2 are presented. These show that the transitions in these models are in new universality classes and that the conformal charge varies with a parameter.
KeywordsVortex Anisotropy Eter
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