Mean-field theory of collective transport with phase slips

Karl Saunders, J. M. Schwarz, M. Cristina Marchetti, A. Alan Middleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The driven transport of plastic systems in various disordered backgrounds is studied within mean field theory. Plasticity is modeled using nonconvex interparticle potentials that allow for phase slips. This theory most naturally describes sliding charge density waves; other applications include flow of colloidal particles or driven magnetic flux vortices in disordered backgrounds. The phase diagrams exhibit generic phases and phase boundaries, though the shapes of the phase boundaries depend on the shape of the disorder potential. The phases are distinguished by their velocity and coherence: the moving phase generically has finite coherence, while pinned states can be coherent or incoherent. The coherent and incoherent static phases can coexist in parameter space, in contrast with previous results for exactly sinusoidal pinning potentials. Transitions between the moving and static states can also be hysteretic. The depinning transition from the static to sliding states can be determined analytically, while the repinning transition from the moving to the pinned phases is computed by direct simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024205
Pages (from-to)024205-1-024205-29
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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