Discreteness-induced transitions in multibody reaction systems

Phys Rev E. 2016 Aug;94(2-1):022140. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.94.022140. Epub 2016 Aug 29.


A decrease in system size can induce qualitatively different behavior compared to the macroscopic behavior of the corresponding large-size system. The mechanisms of this transition, which is known as the small-size transition, can be attributed to either a relative increase in the noise intensity or to the discreteness of the state space due to the small system size. The former mechanism has been intensively investigated using several toy and realistic models. However, the latter has rarely been analyzed and is sometimes confused with the former, because a toy model that extracts the essence of the discreteness-induced transition mechanism is lacking. In this work, we propose a one- and three-body reaction system as a minimal model of the discreteness-induced transition and derive the conditions under which this transition occurs in more complex systems. This work enriches our understanding of the influence of small system size on system behavior.