The effect of quenched bond disorder on first-order phase transitions Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015 Elsevier Inc. We investigate the effect of quenched bond disorder on the two-dimensional three-color Ashkin-Teller model, which undergoes a first-order phase transition in the absence of impurities. This is one of the simplest and striking models in which quantitative numerical simulations can be carried out to investigate emergent criticality due to disorder rounding of first-order transition. Utilizing extensive cluster Monte Carlo simulations on large lattice sizes of up to 128. ×. 128 spins, each of which is represented by three colors taking values ±1, we show that the rounding of the first-order phase transition is an emergent criticality. We further calculate the correlation length critical exponent, ν, and the magnetization critical exponent, β, from finite size scaling analysis. We find that the critical exponents, ν and β, change as the strength of disorder or the four-spin coupling varies, and we show that the critical exponents appear not to be in the Ising universality class. We know of no analytical approaches that can explain our non-perturbative results. However our results should inspire further work on this important problem, either numerical or analytical.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Bellafard, A., Chakravarty, S., Troyer, M., & Katzgraber, H. G.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • June 2015