Thermally activated switching in the presence of non-Gaussian noise

Lora Billings, Montclair State University
Mark Dykman, Michigan State University
Ira Schwartz, US Naval Research Labratory


We study the effect of a non-Gaussian noise on interstate switching activated primarily by Gaussian noise. Even weak non-Gaussian noise can strongly change the switching rate. The effect is determined by all moments of the noise distribution. It is expressed in a closed form in terms of the noise characteristic functional. The analytical results are compared with the results of simulations for an overdamped system driven by white Gaussian noise and a Poisson noise. Switching induced by a purely Poisson noise is also discussed.