How Efficiently Do Three Pointlike Particles Sample Phase Space?

S.G. Cox, G.J. Ackland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We show that the continuous phase space of a hard particle system can be mapped onto a discrete but infinite phase space. For three pointlike particles confined to a ring, the evolution of the system maps onto a chaotic walk on a hexagonal lattice. This facilitates direct measurement of the departure of the system from its original configuration. In special cases of mass ratios the phase space becomes closed and finite (nonergodic). There are qualitative differences between this chaotic walk and a random walk, in particular a more rapid sampling of phase space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2362-2365
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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