We study the thermodynamic behavior of a continuum system with competing periodicities. We show that in addition to commensurate and incommensurate phases, there exist configurations which are chaotic in nature and exhibit no long-range order. These phases are metastable and characterized by an order parameter with a continuous spectrum. By transforming the problem of determining the ground states of the system into a classical mechanics problem, we construct a two-dimensional area-preserving map which can be used to study the qualitative nature of the orbits. Our results might be of relevance to adsorbed monolayers on periodic substrates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics