Absorbing states and elastic interfaces in random media: two equivalent descriptions of self-organized criticality

Juan A. Bonachela, Hugues Chaté, Ivan Dornic, Miguel A. Muñoz

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13 Citations (Scopus)


We elucidate a long-standing puzzle about the nonequilibrium universality classes describing self-organized criticality in sandpile models. We show that depinning transitions of linear interfaces in random media and absorbing phase transitions (with a conserved nondiffusive field) are two equivalent languages to describe sandpile criticality. This is so despite the fact that local roughening properties can be radically different in the two pictures, as explained here. Experimental implications of our work as well as promising paths for future theoretical investigations are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155702
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2007


  • nonequilibrium universality
  • elastic interfaces
  • random media

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