Ground-State Statistics of Directed Polymers with heavy-tailed disorder

Thomas Gueudré 1 Pierre Le Doussal 1 Jean-Philippe Bouchaud 2 Alberto Rosso 3

Physical Review E : Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, American Physical Society, 2015, 91, pp.062110

In this mostly numerical study, we revisit the statistical properties of the ground state of a directed polymer in a $d=1+1$ "hilly" disorder landscape, i.e. when the quenched disorder has power-law tails. When disorder is Gaussian, the polymer minimizes its total energy through a collective optimization, where the energy of each visited site only weakly contributes to the total. Conversely, a hilly landscape forces the polymer to distort and explore a larger portion of space to reach some particularly deep energy sites. As soon as the fifth moment of the disorder diverges, this mechanism radically changes the standard "KPZ" scaling behaviour of the directed polymer, and new exponents prevail. After confirming again that the Flory argument accurately predicts these exponent in the tail-dominated phase, we investigate several other statistical features of the ground state that shed light on this unusual transition and on the accuracy of the Flory argument. We underline the theoretical challenge posed by this situation, which paradoxically becomes even more acute above the upper critical dimension.

  • 1. LPTENS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique de l'ENS
  • 2. CFM - Capital Fund Management
  • 3. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques