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PX2231 Thermal and Statistical Physics

Exercise Sheet 5

This work can be done in groups of up to four people. Enter student numbers for
those submitting here. Will be returned via first listed person.
This sheet must be attached to each submitted script.
1.

3.

2.

4.

Deadline for submission: 9.00 am Friday of week 8


For all questions, explain your reasoning carefully.
1.

A system has three levels of energy 0, 100 kB and 200 kB, with degeneracies of 1, 3 and 5
respectively, is in contact with a heat bath at a temperature of 100 K.
a) Calculate the partition function (for a single particle).
b) Obtain numerical values for the relative population of each level.
(Note: remember the degeneracy of each level and check that the probabilities add up
to one.)
c) Calculate the average energy per particle at this temperature using U

p j j .

levels j

2.

a) The energy levels of a single quantised harmonic oscillator are given by


1

n n where n is an integer. Show that the single particle partition


2

function at temperature T is given by

exp / 2 where 1/ k T
Z sp exp i
B
kBT 1 exp

(Hint: You may find it useful to note that the infinite sum

x
n 0

1
for 0< x <1.)
1 x

b) The partition function for N distinguishable particles is Z N Z sp .


N

Show that the internal energy of a a system of N harmonic oscillators is


1

1
U N

2 exp 1
and derive an expression for the heat capacity at constant volume CV.

c) Explain how this expression may be used as a basis to describe the temperature
dependence of the heat capacity of solids.

P.T.O.

3.

The partition function for an interacting gas is


V Nb mkB T
Z

2
N 2
N

3N 2

exp N 2 2 VkB T

where a and b are constants.


a) Show that the pressure is of a similar form to the van der Waals equation for a nonideal gas.
b) Calculate the internal energy. Comment on your result in comparison with the
internal energy of an ideal gas.

4.

Consider a large number N of particles, each of spin in an external magnetic field. Each
spin can be oriented either along or opposite to the external field direction z, so assume there
are n up and N n down respectively.
a) Show the resulting z-component of the spin of the system will therefore be
1
m s ( 2n N )
2
b) Give an expression for the number of possible states of the system as a function of
n.
c) Hence (using Stirlings approximation) show that the entropy S kB ln can be
written:
S k [ N ln N N nlnN n n lnn]
d) By differentiating with respect to n, deduce the value of the z-component of the spin
for which the entropy is maximum.

Relationship to the partition function


F k B T ln Z
ln Z
T
ln Z
ln Z
U pi i
kBT 2

T
i
S k B ln Z k B T

U
CV

T V

For N distinguishable particles, the N-particle partition function is

Z N Z sp

Generic feedback will be provided when solutions are covered in class.