A stochastic lattice gas of particles, subject to an excluded volume constraint and to a uniform external driving field, is investigated. Using a mean-field theory for a system with equal number of oppositely charged particles, exact results are obtained. Focusing on the current-vs-density plot, we propose an explanation for the discontinuous transition found in earlier simulations. A critical value of the drive, below which this transition becomes continuous, is found. These results are supported by a bifurcation analysis, leading to an equation of motion for the amplitude of the soft mode.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/beate_schmittmann/25/