We discuss the stability of highly localized, ''breatherlike,'' excitations in discrete nonlinear lattices under the influence of thermal fluctuations. The particular model considered is the discrete nonlinear Schrodinger equation in the regime of high nonlinearity, where temperature effects are included as multiplicative white noise and nonlinear damping. Numerical analysis shows that the lifetime of the breather is always finite and, in a large parameter regime, inversely proportional to the noise variance for fixed damping and nonlinearity. We also find that the decay rate of the breather decreases with increasing nonlinearity and with increasing damping. Using a collective-coordinate approximation, we show how the qualitative features of the numerical results can be analytically understood. Finally, in the dimer case we show that the multiplicative noise can be transformed into additive noise, and an exact stationary solution to the Fokker-Planck equation is obtained. From this solution, the dimer system is found to exhibit a noise (temperature) induced phase transition.
Bibliographical noteCopyright (1997) American Physical Society.
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