Metastable states in parametrically excited multimode Hamiltonian systems

E. Kirr, M. I. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Consider a linear autonomous Hamiltonian system with m time periodic bound state solutions. In this paper we study their dynamics under time almost periodic perturbations which are small, localized and Hamiltonian. The analysis proceeds through a reduction of the original infinite dimensional dynamical system to the dynamics of two coupled subsystems: a dominant m-dimensional system of ordinary differential equations (normal form), governing the projections onto the bound states and an infinite dimensional dispersive wave equation. The present work generalizes previous work of the authors, where the case of a single bound state is considered. Here, the interaction picture is considerably more complicated and requires deeper analysis, due to a multiplicity of bound states and the very general nature of the perturbation's time dependence. Parametric forcing induces coupling of bound states to continuum radiation modes, of bound states directly to bound states, as well as coupling among bound states, which is mediated by continuum modes. Our analysis elucidates these interactions and we prove the metastability (long life time) and eventual decay of bound states for a large class of systems. The key hypotheses for the analysis are: appropriate local energy decay estimates for the unperturbed evolution operator, restricted to the continuous spectral part of the Hamiltonian, and a matrix Fermi Golden rule condition, which ensures coupling of bound states to continuum modes. Problems of the type considered arise in many areas of application including ionization physics, quantum molecular theory and the propagation of light in optical fibers in the presence of defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-372
Number of pages38
JournalCommunications in Mathematical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


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