Percolation in education and application in the 21st century
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Percolation, “so simple you could teach it to your wife” (Chuck Newman, last century) is an ideal system to introduce young students to phase transitions. Two recent projects in the Computational Physics group at the Technion make this easy. One is a set of analog models to be mounted on our walls and enable visitors to switch between samples to see which mixtures of glass and metal objects have a percolating current. The second is a website enabling the creation of stereo samples of two and three dimensional clusters (suited for viewing with Oculus rift) on desktops, tablets and smartphones. Although there have been many physical applications for regular percolation in the past, for Bootstrap Percolation, where only sites with sufficient occupied neighbours remain active, there have not been a surfeit of condensed matter applications. We have found that the creation of diamond membranes for quantum computers can be modeled with a bootstrap process of graphitization in diamond, enabling prediction of optimal processing procedures.
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