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Physics Department

8.044 Statistical Physics I Spring Term 2013

Final Exam

temperatures the system can be modeled as follows. There are N stationary, well defined α-

sites which are normally occupied by α atoms and N β-sites normally occupied by β atoms.

At T = 0 there is perfect order in the system, but at finite temperature n α atoms are

displaced to β-sites. (An equal number of β atoms must then be displaced to the vacated

α-sites.) The energy of the system associated with the disorder is given by U = n. If

is a constant, the thermodynamic state of the system is given by a single thermodynamic

variable which can be chosen to be either n or U .

To specify one of the many microscopic states of the system consistent with a fixed value of

n one must indicate which specific α-sites are occupied by the n β atoms and which specific

β-sites are occupied by the n α atoms. For example if n = 1 there are N possible sites from

which the α atom may be taken, and N possible sites in which it could be placed.

a) Find the number of different ways of choosing the n α-sites to be vacated and occupied

by β atoms.

b) Find the number of different ways of choosing the n β-sites from which to take the β

atoms.

d) Find U (T, N ).

1

Problem 2 (20 points) DNA Model

open

closed

n-1 n N-1 N

...

2 3

1

A strand of DNA can be modeled as a zipper with links between N base-pairs. Each link

has the energy 0 in the closed state and the energy in the open state. Assume the zipper

can only open from one end, so that the nth link can open only if all the links 1, 2, ..., n−1

are open. Also assume that N is very large and the system is at temperature T .

a) Find the partition function for a single strand Z1 (T ) and leave it in the form of a sum

which you need not evaluate analytically.

b) Find the average number of open links hni at very low temperatures where kT .

d) Find the average number of open links hni at high temperatures where

N kT .

2

Problem 3 (20 points) Spin Waves

At low temperatures the coupling between the electronic spins in a solid may cause the

moments to align spontaneously in a ferromagnetic state, even in the absence of an applied

magnetic field. In the simplest model of ferromagnetism all the spins point in exactly the

same direction at T = 0. As the temperature is raised, the deviations of the spins from this

direction are not localized on single atoms, but rather are spread as correlated disturbances

throughout the entire sample. These “normal modes” of the spin system are called spin

waves. They are analogous to phonons: spin waves are oscillations in the relative orientations

of spins on a lattice; phonons are oscillations in the relative positions of atoms on a lattice.

The spin wave modes are indexed only by their wavevector ~k. For a sample with di-

mensions Lx , Ly and Lz , the wavevectors allowed by periodic boundary conditions are

~k = (2π/Lx )mx̂ + (2π/Ly )nŷ + (2π/Lz )lẑ where m, n and l can take on all positive and

negative integer values. Each spin wave mode is represented by a quantum mechanical har-

~ [The statistical mechanics of a single quantum

monic oscillator with radian frequency ω(k).

harmonic oscillator are summarized on the information sheet.]

a) What is the density of allowed wavevectors D(k) ~ x dky dkz gives the

number of allowed wavevectors in the volume dkx dky dkz around the point ~k in k-space?

b) Assume that the dispersion relation for the spin waves is isotropic and quadratic in the

wavevector (a good approximation for cubic lattices at low temperatures): ω(k)~ = a k2

where k ≡ |~k| and a is a constant. Find an expression for the density of states as a

function of frequency D(ω). Sketch D(ω).

c) Find the spin wave contribution to the heat capacity of the solid CV (T, V ). Leave your

answer in terms of a dimensionless integral which you need not evaluate. Since the

zero point energy terms do not depend on temperature, you may leave them out from

the beginning.

d) Does the answer you found in c) exhibit energy gap behavior? If so, explain why; if

not, explain why it does not.

3

Problem 4 (20 points) Graphene

Graphene is a sheet of tightly bound carbon atoms exactly one atomic layer thick. Electrons

in the conduction band travel in this sheet as a two-dimensional gas with a unique dispersion

relation: it is linear in the magnitude of the wavevector ~k.

~ = ~v|~k|

(k)

conditions are ~k = (2π/Lx )mx̂ + (2π/Ly )nŷ where m and n can take on all positive and

negative integer values.

~ in wavevector space?

a) What is the density of allowed wavevectors D(k)

b) Each electron has a spin degeneracy of 2. Find the density of states in the conduction

band as a function of energy, Dc ().

c) There is also a valence band (where the electrons have negative energies) with a density

of states Dv () that is the mirror image of the result you found in b). The two bands

just touch; there is no gap. The total density of states is the sum of these two

D(ε)

0 ε

Make a similar sketch of the total density of states using your result from b).

d) At T = 0 the valence band is completely full and the conduction band is completely

empty. Where is the chemical potential µ at T = 0? As T increases, will µ move to

higher energies, stay where it is, or move to lower energies? Explain the reason for

your answer.

e) Find an expression for the internal energy U (T, A) of the electrons, defining

U (T =0, A) = 0 for the purposes of this problem. Leave your answer in terms of a

dimensionless integral. Do not try to evaluate the integral. [Note that it takes twice

as much energy to move an electron from −|| to || as it does to move it from 0 to ||.]

f) Based on your result in e), what is the exponent n for the temperature in the low

temperature constant area heat capacity CA (T, A) ∝ T n for the electrons in graphene?

4

Problem 5 (20 points) BEC

The density of states as a function of energy for spinless atoms in three dimensions is given

by

3/2

√

V 2m

D() = 2 2

(2π) ~

a) Derive the general relationship between the temperature T , number density n ≡ N/V ,

and chemical potential µ, for a gas of non-interacting bosons. [The expression for the

mean occupation number of any single particle state hn(ε)i is given on the information

sheet.] Leave your answer in terms of a dimensionless integral. It will be helpful to

introduce the dimensionless variable βµ ≡ y. Your integral will be a function of y:

I(y). Do not try to evaluate the integral.

b) Using the result you just derived, find the relationship between the temperature and

density at which Bose-Einstein condensation begins. Again, do not evaluate the inte-

gral.

As was pointed out in lecture, the chemical potential, µ, for a Bose gas is negative or zero.

It is sometimes mistakenly stated that the chemical potential tells us how much the internal

energy of a system changes when a particle is added. If true, this would be particularly

troubling for a Bose gas since it would say that the internal energy of a Bose gas decreases

when a particle is added.

c) Show, with the help of a Maxwell relation, that the correct expression is

∂U ∂µ ∂y

=µ−T = where y = βµ ,

∂N T,V ∂T N,V ∂β N,V

and use this to show that ∂U/∂N |T ,V = 0 in the Bose condensed phase.

d) Now consider temperatures and pressures where there is no condensate. Use the results

of part a) to show that ∂U/∂N |T,V can never be negative for a Bose gas.

5

PARTIAL DERIVATIVE RELATIONSHIPS

of any two of x, y, z. Then

∂x ∂y ∂x

=

∂ y w ∂z w ∂z w

∂x 1

=

∂y z ∂y

∂x

z

∂x ∂y ∂z

= −1

∂y z ∂z x ∂x y

COMBINATORIAL FACTS

There are K! different orderings of K objects. The number of ways of choosing L objects

from a set of K objects is

K!

(K − L)!

if the order in which they are chosen matters, and

K!

L!(K − L)!

if order does not matter.

STERLING’S APPROXIMATION

When K 1

ln K! ≈ K ln K − K or K! ≈ (K/e)K

DERIVATIVE OF A LOG

d 1 du(x)

ln u(x) =

dx u(x) dx

OF RADIUS R

π α/2 α

R

(α/2)!

6

Work in simple systems

Hydrostatic system −P dV

Surface film γ dA

Linear system FdL

Dielectric material EdP

Magnetic material HdM

Energy U dU = T dS + µdN + Xdx

Helmholtz free energy F = U − TS dF = −SdT + µdN + Xdx

Gibbs free energy G = U − T S − Xx dG = −SdT + µdN − xdX

Enthalpy H = U − Xx dH = T dS + µdN − xdX

Thermodynamic potential Φ = F − µN dΦ = −S dT − N dµ + X dx

(n) = (n + 12 )~ω n = 0, 1, 2, . . .

1

p(n) = e−(n+ 2 )~ω/kT /Z(T )

1

Z(T ) = e− 2 ~ω/kT (1 − e−~ω/kT )−1

h(n)i = 12 ~ω + ~ω(e~ω/kT − 1)−1

1

hn(, T )i =

e(−µ)/kB T ±1

where the + sign applies to Fermions and the - sign to Bosons

eax

Z

ax

e dx = For integer n and m

a Z ∞

eax

Z

ax

x e dx = 2 (ax − 1) xn e−x dx = n!

a Z0 ∞ −x

Z

eax e √

x2 eax dx = 3 (a2 x2 − 2ax + 2) √ dx = π

a 0 x

Z x Z ∞

2 2

dx e 2 −1/2

(2πσ ) x2n e−x /2σ dx = 1 · 3 · 5 · · · (2n − 1) σ 2n

x

= ln

1+e 1 + ex Z ∞ −∞

2 1

x e−x dx =

0 2

Z 1

n!m!

xm (1 − x)n dx =

0 (m + n + 1)!

7

MIT OpenCourseWare

http://ocw.mit.edu

Spring 2013

For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms.

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