Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Willet Science Center 101

"Stochastic Resonance," Reports on Progress in Physics (Rep. Prog. Phys.), vol. 67 p. 45-105 (2004)

Thomas Wellens1,2, Vyacheslav Shatokhin3,4 and Andreas Buchleitner3

1 Institut Nonlineaire de Nice, 1361, route des Lucioles, 06560 Valbonne, France
2 Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, 4, place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
3 MPI für Physik komplexer Systeme, Nöthnitzer Str. 38, 01187 Dresden, France
4 B.I. Stepanov Institute of Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Fr. Skaryna Ave. 70, 220072 Minsk, Belarus

E-mail:, and

Received 26 September 2003
Published 4 December 2003 
Abstract:  We are taught by conventional wisdom that the transmission and detection of signals is hindered by noise. However, during the last two decades, the paradigm of stochastic resonance (SR) proved this assertion wrong: indeed, addition of the appropriate amount of noise can boost a signal and hence facilitate its detection in a noisy environment. Due to its simplicity and robustness, SR has been implemented by mother nature on almost every scale, thus attracting interdisciplinary interest from physicists, geologists, engineers, biologists and medical doctors, who nowadays use it as an instrument for their specific purposes.

At the present time, there exist a lot of diversified models of SR. Taking into account the progress achieved in both theoretical understanding and practical application of this phenomenon, we put the focus of the present review not on discussing in depth technical details of different models and approaches but rather on presenting a general and clear physical picture of SR on a pedagogical level. Particular emphasis will be given to the implementation of SR in generic quantum systems - an issue that has received limited attention in earlier review papers on the topic.

The major part of our presentation relies on the two-state model of SR (or on simple variants thereof), which is general enough to exhibit the main features of SR and, in fact, covers many (if not most) of the examples of SR published so far. In order to highlight the diversity of the two-state model, we shall discuss several examples from such different fields as condensed matter, nonlinear and quantum optics and biophysics. Finally, we also discuss some situations that go beyond the generic SR scenario but are still characterized by a constructive role of noise.
DOI: 10.1088/0034-4885/67/1/R02
PII: S0034-4885(04)31707-0

Please join us for light refreshments outside WSC 109 at 4:15.

Mercer Physics Seminar Homepage

Mercer Physics Department