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Cavity-induced bifurcation in classical rate theory

Kalle Sulo Ukko Kansanen, Tero Tapio Heikkilä

SciPost Phys. 16, 025 (2024) · published 23 January 2024


We show how coupling an ensemble of bistable systems to a common cavity field affects the collective stochastic behavior of this ensemble. In particular, the cavity provides an effective interaction between the systems, and parametrically modifies the transition rates between the metastable states. We predict that the cavity induces a phase transition at a critical temperature which depends linearly on the number of systems. It shows up as a spontaneous symmetry breaking where the stationary states of the bistable system bifurcate. We observe that the transition rates slow down independently of the phase transition, but the rate modification vanishes for alternating signs of the system-cavity couplings, corresponding to a disordered ensemble of dipoles. Our results are of particular relevance in polaritonic chemistry where the presence of a cavity has been suggested to affect chemical reactions.

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