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# The Density of States (DoS

):
Mode Counting vs. Phase Space
Yosun Chang
October 13, 2005
In its practical usage, the density of states replaces the degeneracy (in the
continuum limit) in the appropriate partition function.
The (usual definition of the) density of states (DoS) is the number of states
in the range E to E + dE. Alternate definitions
may use, for example, ω to ω + dω, where frequency is a more prudent
parameter to use.
Define N as the total number of states or modes, and also define:
number of states
N
=
unit volume
V
and let g denote the DoS, defined as:
G :=

(1)

dG
= number of states in E to E + dE
(2)
dE
Note that per unit volume refers to the spacing between intervals or points,
and thus may be a length or area in lower dimensions.
There are, in general, two equivalent ways to calculating the density of state.
Method one involves counting modes (i.e., the number
of states). After deducing G, one substitute the dispersion relation to obtain
G = G(E), then one takes the derivative
with respect to E to get g, the DoS. Note that in this version, one has to
divide G by the number of quadrants, since
only the energy values in the first quadrant are of matter.
Method two involves calculating the momentum integral in phase space. n
is the dimension number.
Z
1
G= n
dn p,
(3)
h
g=

whence after finding G, one subs in the dispersion relation, then differentiate
with respect to E to obtain g.
Both methods are easy. Both utilize the definitions
of G (total number of states per unit volume) and g above (number of states
ver unit volume in a thin shell of energy).
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The following examples should make things crystal clear: 1.2 Phase Space r r Z 1 1 1 2mE 1 1 mE G= dp = 2 p = 2 ¯hk = = h h h 2π π 2¯h2 ¯h2 ! r r d 2mE 1 m 1 dG = = g= 2 π dE dE ¯h 2¯h2 E π 2 (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) .1.1.1 Non-relativistic particle in a box: The non-relativistic particle in a box has the following dispersion relation: ¯ 2 k2 h . and k is the wave number.1 Mode Counting length of line in k space kL = π length of interval between points r N k 2mE 1 G= = = L π ¯h2 π ! r r dG d 2mE 1 m 1 g= = = 2 π dE dE ¯h 2¯h2 E π N (k) = 1. (4) 2m where p = ¯hk. one gets: r r 2mE dk m ⇒ (5) k= = dE ¯h2 2¯ h2 E E= A factor of 2S + 1 multiplies the density of state. where S is the spin of the particle.1 1 Dimension Box of Size L: 1. Values of the DoS varies depending on dimension. Solving for k in terms of E.

both G and g are the same for both methods. note that both mode counting and phase space approaches yield the same value for both the number of states G and the density of state g.2 2 Dimension Box of Width Lx and Length Ly : 1. while in the mode counting approach. 1.1 From now on.3 General Comments q 2mE has been used in Note that in the above. the dispersion relation k = h ¯2 glorious abundance in order to change from G(k) to G(E). g will be calculated just once.2. one must be wary of this.2 (14) (15) Indeed.1.2. The phase space approach does not require worrying about multiplying a factor to reduce the calculation to that of just one quadrant. 3 .1 3 Dimension Mode Counting N (k) = 1 4πk 3 Lx Ly Lz volume of quadrant of sphere = 8 3 π3 volume per point  3/2 k2 1 N 1 2mE 1 = G= = Lx Ly Lz 6 π2 6 π2 ¯h2 (16) (17) 1 Rather obvious. lest one is off by a non-trivial factor. Finally.3.1 Mode Counting N (k) = area of quarter circle in k space πk 2 Lx Ly = 4 π2 area per point 1 2mE k2 = 4π 4π ¯h2   dG d 1 2mE 1 2m g= = = dE dE 4π ¯h2 4π h ¯2 G= Phase Space Z Z Z 2π 1 1 1 π¯h2 1 2mE G= 2 d2 p = 2 pdp dθ = 2 πp2 = 2 k 2 = h h h h 4π ¯h2 0   1 2m dG d 1 2mE = g= = dE dE 4π ¯h2 4π ¯h2 (11) (12) (13) 1. 1. if you realize that the only difference between G and g is the derivative with respect to E.3 1.1.

3.2 (21) 1 dG = dE π¯hc (22) 2 Dimension G(k) = 1 h2 Z d2 p = 1 h2 g= 2.2 Phase Space 2 2m ¯h2 Relativistic particle in a box: The dispersion relation for the relativistic particle is elegant: E = pc = h ¯ kc.3 p E = h πhc Z pdpdθ = πp2 = h2  E 2¯ hcπ 2 dG E = 2 2 dE 2¯h c π π (23) (24) 3 Dimension G(k) = 1 h3 Z d3 p = dG 1 g= = 3 dE h Z 4π h3 Z p2 dp = 4π d p= 3 h 3 4 Z 1 6π 2 p2 dp =  2mE ¯h2 3/2 1 E2 2π 2 (¯ hc)3 (25) (26) .4 3/2 E 1/2 (19) n Dimension 1. (20) where p = ¯hk.1 1 Dimension G(k) = Z 1 h dp = 2 g= 2.4.1 Mode Counting 1. 2.4.1. as usual.2 Phase Space  3/2 Z Z Z Z 4π 4π 1 2m 1 3 2 2 d p= 3 p dp = 3 (¯ hk) ¯hdk = G= 3 E 1/2 dE h h h 4π 2 ¯h2 (18)  dG 1 g= = dE 4π 2 1.