Fluctuation of global quantities in highly correlated systems
This thesis addresses the nature of global (many body) fluctuations in highly correlated systems. We begin with the question of temperature dependence in finite two dimensional XY (2dXY) model magnets. Such systems have a fully critical low temperature phase. It is shown analytically, backed up by extensive Monte Carlo simulations, that the non-Gaussian distribution of order parameter fluctuations is not strictly universal but has an explicit temperature dependence - contrary to previous findings. The temperature dependence is used to explain why past studies derived the same distribution for fluctuations of the full order parameter and an approximate linearized form. The appearance of spin vortices in the related Harmonic model is discussed and an argument is presented for why these defects must always appear as bound pairs. The linearized order parameter of the 2dXY model leads to a family of dimensionally dependent models defined in reciprocal space. An argument is presented for the interpretation of these systems as being critical and a direct space Hamiltonian is derived for the one dimensional case. This model has order parameter fluctuations distributed according to the Fisher-Tippett-Gumbel distribution from extreme value statistics (EVS). The link between criticality and EVS is investigated, as are the origins of the non-Gaussianity. The ability to distinguish between critical distributions is discussed. It is seen that for one, two and three dimensions the critical models presented lead to functionally similar fluctuation distributions. A previously reported link between EVS and l/f noise is investigated. Our one dimensional critical model is mapped onto the action used to generate l/f signals and we propose an alternative interpretation of the link in the context of a 1/q dispersion of spatial normal modes. The experimental observability of the FTG distribution in l/f signals is considered with emphasis on imperfections in the noise. A physically relevant method of generating l/f noise from the superposition of random telegraph signals is also examined.