We investigate nonequilibrium fluctuations of a solid surface governed by the stochastic Mullins-Herring equation with conserved noise. This equation describes surface diffusion of adatoms accompanied by their exchange between the surface and the bulk of the solid, when desorption of adatoms is negligible. Previous works dealt with dynamic scaling behavior of the fluctuating interface. Here we determine the probability that the interface first reaches a large given height at a specified time. We also find the optimal time history of the interface conditional on this nonequilibrium fluctuation. We obtain these results by developing a macroscopic fluctuation theory of surface diffusion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics