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DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY

Placement Examination Statistical Mechanics, August 25, 2005

General instructions: Three problems are given. You should do any two. Each problem

counts 20 points and the solution should typically take less than 45 minutes. Use one

exam book for each problem and label it carefully with your name, the name of the

problem's author and the date. You may use a one page help sheet, a calculator, and with

the proctors approval a foreign language dictionary. No other materials may be used.

a) (5 points) What is an order parameter?

b) (5 points) Suppose that the potential for the order parameter is given by

V ( ) = a (T TC ) n + b n + 2 . For what values of a, b and n does this potential

describe a second order phase transition? (Consider only positive n.)

c) (5 points) For T TC the order parameter behaves as ~ (T TC ) . Calculate .

d) (5 points) Now add the term g to the potential. How does the order parameter

behave as a function of g for T TC ?

Statistical Mechanics II (Prakash)

Consider a 3 dimensional system of N noninteracting spin 1/2 fermions of mass m and

energy p = p 2 /( 2m) ( p denotes the momentum and p is its magnitude) contained

within a volume V . In equilibrium, the average occupation probability of a state with

momentum p is given by the Fermi-Dirac distribution

n = f ( p ) =

1 + exp

p

kT

constant.

a) (5 points) At T = 0, determine the relation between the number N =

n p and

the Fermi energy F (this is the energy of the largest momentum state pF ).

b) (5 points) The chemical potential obeys the relation

F 1

2 kT

+ ....

12 F

c) (10 points) To leading order in T, the mean energy U = p p n p is given by

3

5 2 kT

U N F 1 +

+ ... .

5

12 F

Hints:

d3p

.

(2 ) 3

V

3

d X ( ) f ( ) d X ( ) +

0

2

6

(kT ) 2

dX

d

+ .....

=

A large number N >>1 of non-interacting bosons are confined to move in a onedimensional quadratic potential producing harmonic oscillations of frequency for each

particle. The system is in equilibrium at temperature kT >> .

a) (10 points) Treating the system in the grand canonical ensemble, write down the

equation for the chemical potential of this gas of bosons. Calculate from this

equation replacing the sum over the oscillator states with an integral.

b) (5 points) From part (a), find the average occupation n0 of the ground state of the

oscillator and estimate the temperature range at which the gas of boson behaves as

classical ideal gas.

c) (5 points) Compare the average occupations n0 and n1 of the ground and the first

excited states and estimate the temperature at which n0 becomes considerably

larger than n1.

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