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An unconventional phase transition

par Webmaster - 22 août 2006

Phase transitions occupy a central role in physics, due both to their experimental ubiquity and their fundamental conceptual importance. The explanation of universality at phase transitions was the great success of the theory formulated by Ginzburg and Landau, and extended through the renormalization group by Wilson. However, recent theoretical suggestions have challenged this point of view in certain situations.

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A member of the Laboratory and his colleagues from Paris recently reported the first large-scale simulations of a three dimensional model proposed to be a candidate for requiring a description beyond the Landau-Ginzburg-Wilson framework : they study the phase transition from the dimer crystal to the Coulomb phase in the cubic dimer model. The numerical results strongly indicate that the transition is continuous and are compatible with a tricritical universality class, at variance with previous proposals.

The corresponding paper, Unconventional Continuous Phase Transition in a Three-Dimensional Dimer Model has been published in Physical Review Letters 97, 030403 (2006). The corresponding author in the laboratory is Fabien Alet.