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**3.1 Microcanonical, Canonical, Grand Canonical
**

Ensembles

In statistical mechanics, we deal with a situation in which even the quantum state

of the system is unknown. The expectation value of an observable must be averaged

over:

¸O) =

i

w

i

¸i [O[ i) (3.1)

where the states [i) form an orthonormal basis of H and w

i

is the probability of being

in state [i). The w

i

’s must satisfy

w

i

= 1. The expectation value can be written in

a basis-independent form:

¸O) = Tr ¦ρO¦ (3.2)

where ρ is the density matrix. In the above example, ρ =

i

w

i

[i)¸i[. The condition,

w

i

= 1, i.e. that the probabilities add to 1, is:

Tr ¦ρ¦ = 1 (3.3)

We usually deal with one of three ensembles: the microcanonical emsemble, the

canonical ensemble, or the grand canonical ensemble. In the microcanonical ensemble,

18

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 19

we assume that our system is isolated, so the energy is ﬁxed to be E, but all states

with energy E are taken with equal probability:

ρ = C δ(H −E) (3.4)

C is a normalization constant which is determined by (3.3). The entropy is given by,

S = −ln C (3.5)

In other words,

S(E) = ln

_

# of states with energy E

_

(3.6)

Inverse temperature, β = 1/(k

B

T):

β ≡

_

∂S

∂E

_

V

(3.7)

Pressure, P:

P

k

B

T

≡

_

∂S

∂V

_

E

(3.8)

where V is the volume.

First law of thermodynamics:

dS =

∂S

∂E

dE +

∂S

∂V

dV (3.9)

dE = k

B

T dS −P dV (3.10)

Free energy:

F = E −k

B

TS (3.11)

Diﬀerential relation:

dF = −k

B

S dT −P dV (3.12)

or,

S = −

1

k

B

_

∂F

∂T

_

V

(3.13)

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 20

P = −

_

∂F

∂V

_

T

(3.14)

while

E = F +k

B

TS

= F −T

_

∂F

∂T

_

V

= −T

2

∂

∂T

F

T

(3.15)

In the canonical ensemble, we assume that our system is in contact with a heat

reservoir so that the temperature is constant. Then,

ρ = C e

−βH

(3.16)

It is useful to drop the normalization constant, C, and work with an unnormalized

density matrix so that we can deﬁne the partition function:

Z = Tr ¦ρ¦ (3.17)

or,

Z =

a

e

−βE

a

(3.18)

The average energy is:

E =

1

Z

a

E

a

e

−βE

a

= −

∂

∂β

ln Z

= −k

B

T

2

∂

∂T

ln Z (3.19)

Hence,

F = −k

B

T ln Z (3.20)

The chemical potential, µ, is deﬁned by

µ =

∂F

∂N

(3.21)

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 21

where N is the particle number.

In the grand canonical ensemble, the system is in contact with a reservoir of heat

and particles. Thus, the temperature and chemical potential are held ﬁxed and

ρ = C e

−β(H−µN)

(3.22)

We can again work with an unnormalized density matrix and construct the grand

canonical partition function:

Z =

N,a

e

−β(E

a

−µN)

(3.23)

The average number is:

N = −k

B

T

∂

∂µ

ln Z (3.24)

while the average energy is:

E = −

∂

∂β

ln Z +µk

B

T

∂

∂µ

ln Z (3.25)

3.2 Bose-Einstein and Planck Distributions

3.2.1 Bose-Einstein Statistics

For a system of free bosons, the partition function

Z =

E

a

,N

e

−β(E

a

−µN)

(3.26)

can be rewritten in terms of the single-particle eigenstates and the single-particle

energies

i

:

E

a

= n

0

0

+n

1

1

+. . . (3.27)

Z =

{n

i

}

e

−β

(

i

n

i

i

−µ

i

n

i)

=

i

_

n

i

e

−β(n

i

i

−µn

i

)

_

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 22

=

i

1

1 −e

−β(

i

−µ)

(3.28)

¸n

i

) =

1

e

β(

i

−µ)

−1

(3.29)

The chemical potential is chosen so that

N =

i

¸n

i

)

=

i

1

e

β(

i

−µ)

−1

(3.30)

The energy is given by

E =

i

¸n

i

)

i

=

i

i

e

β(

i

−µ)

−1

(3.31)

N is increased by increasing µ (µ ≤ 0 always). Bose-Einstein condensation occurs

when

N >

i=0

¸n

i

) (3.32)

In such a case, ¸n

0

) must become large. This occurs when µ = 0.

3.2.2 The Planck Distribution

Suppose N is not ﬁxed, but is arbitrary, e.g. the numbers of photons and neutrinos

are not ﬁxed. Then there is no Lagrange multiplier µ and

¸n

i

) =

1

e

β

i

−1

(3.33)

Consider photons (two polarizations) in a cavity of side L with

k

= ¯ hω

k

= ¯ hck and

k =

2π

L

(m

x

, m

y

, m

z

) (3.34)

E = 2

m

x

,m

y

,m

z

ω

m

x

,m

y

,m

z

_

n

m

x

,m

y

,m

z

_

(3.35)

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 23

We can take the thermodynamic limit, L → ∞, and convert the sum into an

integral. Since the allowed

k’s are

2π

L

(m

x

, m

y

, m

z

), the

k-space volume per allowed

k

is (2π)

3

/L

3

. Hence, we can take the inﬁnite-volume limit by making the replacement:

k

f(

k) =

1

(∆

k)

3

k

f(

k) (∆

k)

3

=

L

3

(2π)

3

_

d

3

k f(

k) (3.36)

Hence,

E = 2 V

_

k

max

0

d

3

k

(2π)

3

¯ hω

k

e

β¯hω

k

−1

= 2 V

_

k

max

0

d

3

k

(2π)

3

¯ hck

e

β¯hck

−1

=

V k

4

B

π

2

(¯ hc)

3

T

4

_

β¯hck

max

0

x

3

dx

e

x

−1

(3.37)

For β¯ hck

max

¸1,

E =

V k

4

B

π

2

(¯ hc)

3

T

4

_

∞

0

x

3

dx

e

x

−1

(3.38)

and

C

V

=

4V k

4

B

π

2

(¯ hc)

3

T

3

_

∞

0

x

3

dx

e

x

−1

(3.39)

For β¯ hck

max

¸1 ,

E =

V k

3

max

3π

2

k

B

T (3.40)

and

C

V

=

V k

3

max

k

B

3π

2

(3.41)

3.3 Fermi-Dirac Distribution

For a system of free fermions, the partition function

Z =

E

a

,N

e

−β(E

a

−µN)

(3.42)

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 24

can again be rewritten in terms of the single-particle eigenstates and the single-particle

energies

i

:

E

a

= n

0

0

+n

1

1

+. . . (3.43)

but now

n

i

= 0, 1 (3.44)

so that

Z =

{n

i

}

e

−β

(

i

n

i

i

−µ

i

n

i)

=

i

_

_

1

n

i

=0

e

−β(n

i

i

−µn

i

)

_

_

=

i

_

1 +e

−β(

i

−µ)

_

(3.45)

¸n

i

) =

1

e

β(

i

+µ)

+ 1

(3.46)

The chemical potential is chosen so that

N =

i

1

e

β(

i

+µ)

+ 1

(3.47)

The energy is given by

E =

i

i

e

β(

i

+µ)

+ 1

(3.48)

3.4 Thermodynamics of the Free Fermion Gas

Free electron gas in a box of side L:

k

=

¯ h

2

k

2

2m

(3.49)

with

k =

2π

L

(m

x

, m

y

, m

z

) (3.50)

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 25

Then, taking into account the 2 spin states,

E = 2

m

x

,m

y

,m

z

m

x

,m

y

,m

z

_

n

m

x

,m

y

,m

z

_

= 2 V

_

k

max

0

d

3

k

(2π)

3

¯h

2

k

2

2m

e

β

_

¯ h

2

k

2

2m

−µ

_

+ 1

(3.51)

N = 2 V

_

k

max

0

d

3

k

(2π)

3

1

e

β

_

¯ h

2

k

2

2m

−µ

_

+ 1

(3.52)

At T = 0,

1

e

β

_

¯ h

2

k

2

2m

−µ

_

+ 1

= θ

_

µ −

¯ h

2

k

2

2m

_

(3.53)

All states with energies less than µ are ﬁlled; all states with higher energies are empty.

We write

k

F

=

√

2mµ

T=0

¯ h

,

F

= µ

T=0

(3.54)

N

V

= 2

_

k

F

0

d

3

k

(2π)

3

=

k

3

F

3π

2

(3.55)

E

V

= 2

_

k

F

0

d

3

k

(2π)

3

¯ h

2

k

2

2m

=

1

π

2

¯ h

2

k

5

F

10m

=

3

5

N

V

F

(3.56)

2

_

d

3

k

(2π)

3

=

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

d

1

2

(3.57)

For k

B

T ¸e

F

,

N

V

=

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

0

d

1

2

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

=

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

µ

0

d

1

2

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

µ

0

d

1

2

_

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

− 1

_

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

µ

d

1

2

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 26

=

(2m)

3

2

3π

2

¯ h

3

µ

3

2

−

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

µ

0

d

1

2

1

e

−β(−µ)

+ 1

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

µ

d

1

2

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

=

(2m)

3

2

3π

2

¯ h

3

µ

3

2

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

0

k

B

T dx

e

x

+ 1

_

(µ +k

B

Tx)

1

2

−(µ −k

B

Tx)

1

2

_

+O

_

e

−βµ

_

=

(2m)

3

2

3π

2

¯ h

3

µ

3

2

+

(2m)

3

2

π

2

¯ h

3

∞

n=1

(k

B

T)

2n

_

_

µ

3

2

−2n

1

(2n −1)!

Γ

_

3

2

_

Γ

_

5

2

−2n

_

_

∞

0

dx

x

2n−1

e

x

+ 1

_

_

=

(2m)

3

2

3π

2

¯ h

3

µ

3

2

_

_

1 +

3

2

_

k

B

T

µ

_

2

I

1

+O

_

T

4

_

_

_

(3.58)

with

I

k

=

_

∞

0

dx

x

k

e

x

+ 1

(3.59)

We will only need

I

1

=

π

2

12

(3.60)

Hence,

(

F

)

3

2

= µ

3

2

_

_

1 +

3

2

_

k

B

T

µ

_

2

I

1

+O

_

T

4

_

_

_

(3.61)

To lowest order in T, this gives:

µ =

F

_

_

1 −

_

k

B

T

F

_

2

I

1

+O(T

4

)

_

_

=

F

_

_

1 −

π

2

12

_

k

B

T

F

_

2

+O(T

4

)

_

_

(3.62)

E

V

=

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

0

d

3

2

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

=

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

µ

0

d

3

2

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

µ

0

d

3

2

_

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

− 1

_

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

µ

d

3

2

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

=

(2m)

3

2

5π

2

¯ h

3

µ

5

2

−

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

µ

0

d

3

2

1

e

−β(−µ)

+ 1

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

µ

d

3

2

1

e

β(−µ)

+ 1

=

(2m)

3

2

5π

2

¯ h

3

µ

5

2

+

m

3

2

2

1

2

π

2

¯ h

3

_

∞

0

k

B

T dx

e

x

+ 1

_

(µ +k

B

Tx)

3

2

−(µ −k

B

Tx)

3

2

_

+O

_

e

−βµ

_

=

(2m)

3

2

5π

2

¯ h

3

µ

5

2

+

(2m)

3

2

π

2

¯ h

3

∞

n=1

(k

B

T)

2n

_

_

µ

5

2

−2n

1

(2n −1)!

Γ

_

5

2

_

Γ

_

7

2

−2n

_

_

∞

0

dx

x

2n−1

e

x

+ 1

_

_

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 27

=

(2m)

3

2

5π

2

¯ h

3

µ

5

2

_

_

1 +

15

2

_

k

B

T

µ

_

2

I

1

+O(T

4

)

_

_

=

3

5

N

V

F

_

_

1 +

5π

2

12

_

k

B

T

F

_

2

+O(T

4

)

_

_

(3.63)

Hence, the speciﬁc heat of a gas of free fermions is:

C

V

=

π

2

2

Nk

B

k

B

T

F

(3.64)

Note that this can be written in the more general form:

C

V

= (const.) k

B

g (

F

) k

B

T (3.65)

The number of electrons which are thermally excited above the ground state is ∼

g (

F

) k

B

T; each such electron contributes energy ∼ k

B

T and, hence, gives a speciﬁc

heat contribution of k

B

. Electrons give such a contribution to the speciﬁc heat of a

metal.

3.5 Ising Model, Mean Field Theory, Phases

Consider a model of spins on a lattice in a magnetic ﬁeld:

H = −gµ

B

B

i

S

z

i

≡ 2h

i

S

z

i

(3.66)

with S

z

i

= ±1/2. The partition function for such a system is:

Z =

_

2 cosh

h

k

B

T

_

N

(3.67)

The average magnetization is:

S

z

i

=

1

2

tanh

h

k

B

T

(3.68)

The susceptibility, χ, is deﬁned by

χ =

_

∂

∂h

i

S

z

i

_

h=0

(3.69)

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 28

For free spins on a lattice,

χ =

1

2

N

1

k

B

T

(3.70)

A susceptibility which is inversely proportional to temperature is called a Curie suc-

septibility. In problem set 3, you will show that the susceptibility is much smaller for

a system of electrons.

Now consider a model of spins on a lattice such that each spin interacts with its

neighbors according to:

H = −

1

2

i,j

JS

z

i

S

z

j

(3.71)

This Hamiltonian has a symmetry

S

z

i

→−S

z

i

(3.72)

For k

B

T ¸ J, the interaction between the spins will not be important and the

susceptibility will be of the Curie form. For k

B

T < J, however, the behavior will be

much diﬀerent. We can understand this qualitatively using mean ﬁeld theory.

Let us approximate the interaction of each spin with its neighbors by an interaction

with a mean-ﬁeld, h:

H = −

i

hS

z

i

(3.73)

with h given by

h =

i

J¸S

z

i

) = Jz¸S

z

i

) (3.74)

where z is the coordination number. In this ﬁeld, the partition function is just

2 cosh

h

k

B

T

and

¸S

z

) = tanh

h

k

B

T

(3.75)

Using the self-consistency condition, this is:

¸S

z

) = tanh

Jz¸S

z

)

k

B

T

(3.76)

Chapter 3: Review of Statistical Mechanics 29

For k

B

T < Jz, this has non-zero solutions, S

z

,= 0 which break the symmetry

S

z

i

→ −S

z

i

. In this phase, there is a spontaneous magnetization. For k

B

T > Jz,

there is only the solution S

z

= 0. In this phase the symmetry is unbroken and the

is no spontaneous magnetization. At k

B

T = Jz, there is a critical point at which a

phase transition occurs.

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