A "helium atom" of space: Dynamical instability of the isochoric pentahedron

Journal Article

We present an analysis of the dynamics of the equifacial pentahedron on the Kapovich-Millson phase space under a volume preserving Hamiltonian. The classical dynamics of polyhedra under such a Hamiltonian may arise from the classical limit of the node volume operators in loop quantum gravity. The pentahedron is the simplest nontrivial polyhedron for which the dynamics may be chaotic. We consider the distribution of polyhedral configurations throughout the space and find indications that the borders between certain configurations act as separatrices. We examine the local stability of trajectories within this phase space and find that locally unstable regions dominate although extended stable regions are present. Canonical and microcanonical estimates of the Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy suggest that the pentahedron is a strongly chaotic system. The presence of chaos is further suggested by calculations of intermediate time Lyapunov exponents which saturate to nonzero values. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Coleman-Smith, CE; Müller, B

Published Date

  • February 21, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 87 / 4

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1550-2368

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1550-7998

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1103/PhysRevD.87.044047

Citation Source

  • Scopus