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Monte Carlo estimates of interfacial tension in the two-dimensional Ising model from non-equilibrium methods
Non-equilibrium methods for estimating free energy differences are used in order to calculate the interfacial tension between domains with opposite magnetizations in two-dimensional Ising lattices. Non-equilibrium processes are driven by changing the boundary conditions for two opposite sides of the lattice from periodic to antiperiodic and vice versa. This mechanism, which promotes the appearance and disappearance of the interface, is studied by means of Monte Carlo simulations performed at different rates and using different algorithms, thus allowing for testing the applicability of non-equilibrium methods for processes driven far from or close to equilibrium. Interfaces in lattices with different widths and heights are studied and the interface tension as a function of these quantities is obtained. It is found that the estimates of the interfacial tension from non-equilibrium procedures are in good agreement with previous reports as well as with exact results. The efficiency of the different procedures used is analyzed and the dynamics of the interface under these perturbations is briefly discussed. A method for determining the efficiency of non-equilibrium methods as regards thermodynamic perturbation is also presented. It is found that for all cases studied, the Crooks non-equilibrium method for estimating free energy differences is the most efficient one.