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PHSI421 Statistical Mechanics

Paper Description

The course aims to provide a graduate-level understanding of the physics of many-body systems. Students will develop a deeper knowledge of classical thermodynamics, and how this is connected to the statistical description of microscopic systems, both quantum and classical. The course also indroduces the key concept of phase transitions in interacting systems.

Teaching will emphasize problem-solving skills and the application of abstract concepts to concrete systems.

Prerequisites:
PHSI 331, PHSI 332

This paper consists of 15 lectures and 6 tutorials. There are 3 assignments.

Assesment:
Final Exam 70%, Assignments 30%

Important information about assessment for PHSI421

Course Coordinator:
Dr Philip Brydon

After completing this paper students are expected to have achieved the following major learning objectives:

  • Understand the statistical basis for describing thermodynamic equilibrium. Be familiar with the concepts of statistical ensembles, microscopic and macroscopic properties.
  • Be able to define and apply the microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles appropriately. Define and use free energies, be able to derive their thermodynamic identities and extract thermodynamic partial derivative relations.
  • Derive thermodynamic properties from a microscopic description of standard systems, e.g. ideal paramagnet, Einstein solid, ideal gas.
  • Be able to apply the equipartion theorem, and understand its regime of validity.
  • Be able to explain the effect indistinguishability has on statistical properties and how it is dealt with in the various ensembles. Demonstrate how to count/enumerate many-particle states of indistinguishable particles. Derive and apply the quantum distribution functions.
  • Be able to apply the appropriate quantum statistical method to calculate the thermal properties of the standard quantum systems: an ideal Fermi gas, photons in a cavity, and an ideal Bose gas. Derive and apply the appropriate density of states for these systems.
  • Understand general concepts of phase transitions in interacting systems with a detailed understanding of the van der Waals and the Ising mode. Be able to apply the meanfield treatment to the Ising model and extract critical exponents.

Topics:

  • Review: Basic thermal concepts and ideal gases.
  • Review: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the microcanonical ensemble.
  • Review: Definition of entropy and equilibration for weakly coupled systems.
  • Free energies as a force toward equilibrium for open systems. Thermodynamic identities and dreivative relations. Basic chemical thermodynamics.
  • Phase transitions of pure substances. Van der Waals model.
  • Canonical ensemble: Boltzmann statistics and the partition function.
  • Grand canonical ensemble: Gibbs factors, occupation number representation for bosons and fermions, and distribution functions.
  • Degenerate Fermi gas.
  • Blackbody radiation.
  • Bose-Einstein condensation
  • Ising Model of a Ferromagnet. Phase transitions and critical exponents.

Resources:
The course closely follows D. Schroeder's book "An Introduction to Thermal Physics".

 


Formal University Information

The following information is from the University’s corporate web site.

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Details

Advanced thermodynamics; equilibrium theory of many-particle systems; quantum ideal gas: Bose-Einstein condensation and free electrons; interacting systems and phase transitions.

Paper title Statistical Mechanics
Paper code PHSI421
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $628.08
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,573.97

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Limited to
BSc(Hons), PGDipSci, MSc
Contact
philip.brydon@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Dr Philip Brydon
Textbooks
Schroeder, Daniel V. An Introduction to Thermal Physics. Addison Wesley Longman
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
After completing this paper students are expected to:
  • Understand the statistical basis for describing thermodynamic equilibrium. Be familiar with the concepts of statistical ensembles, microscopic and macroscopic properties.
  • Be able to define and apply the microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles appropriately. Define and use free energies, be able to derive their thermodynamic identities and extract thermodynamic partial derivative relations.
  • Derive thermodynamic properties from a microscopic description of standard systems, e.g. ideal paramagnet, Einstein solid, ideal gas.
  • Be able to apply the equipartition theorem, and understand its regime of validity.
  • Be able to explain the effect indistinguishability has on statistical properties and how it is dealt with in the various ensembles. Demonstrate how to count/enumerate many-particle states of indistinguishable particles. Derive and apply the quantum distribution functions.
  • Be able to apply the appropriate quantum statistical method to calculate the thermal properties of the standard quantum systems: an ideal Fermi gas, photons in a cavity, and an ideal Bose gas. Derive and apply the appropriate density of states for these systems.
  • Understand general concepts of phase transitions in interacting systems with a detailed understanding of the van der Waals gas and the Ising model. Be able to apply the meanfield treatment to the Ising model and extract critical exponents.

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Timetable

First Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
None

Advanced thermodynamics; equilibrium theory of many-particle systems; quantum ideal gas: Bose-Einstein condensation and free electrons; interacting systems and phase transitions.

Paper title Statistical Mechanics
Paper code PHSI421
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2018 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

Limited to
BSc(Hons), PGDipSci, MSc
Contact
philip.brydon@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Dr Philip Brydon
Textbooks
Schroeder, Daniel V. An Introduction to Thermal Physics. Addison Wesley Longman
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
After completing this paper students are expected to:
  • Understand the statistical basis for describing thermodynamic equilibrium. Be familiar with the concepts of statistical ensembles, microscopic and macroscopic properties.
  • Be able to define and apply the microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles appropriately. Define and use free energies, be able to derive their thermodynamic identities and extract thermodynamic partial derivative relations.
  • Derive thermodynamic properties from a microscopic description of standard systems (e.g. ideal paramagnet, Einstein solid, ideal gas).
  • Be able to apply the equipartition theorem, and understand its regime of validity.
  • Be able to explain the effect indistinguishability has on statistical properties and how it is dealt with in the various ensembles. Demonstrate how to count/enumerate many-particle states of indistinguishable particles. Derive and apply the quantum distribution functions.
  • Be able to apply the appropriate quantum statistical method to calculate the thermal properties of the standard quantum systems: an ideal Fermi gas, photons in a cavity, and an ideal Bose gas. Derive and apply the appropriate density of states for these systems.
  • Understand general concepts of phase transitions in interacting systems with a detailed understanding of the van der Waals gas and the Ising model. Be able to apply the meanfield treatment to the Ising model and extract critical exponents.

^ Top of page

Timetable

First Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
None