Activities
These lecture notes from week 7 of https://paradigms.oregonstate.edu/courses/ph441 apply the grand canonical ensemble to fermion and bosons ideal gasses. They include a few small group activities.
Derivative of Fermi-Dirac function Show that the magnitude of the slope of the Fermi-Direc function \(f\) evaluated at the Fermi level \(\varepsilon =\mu\) is inversely proportional to its temperature. This means that at lower temperatures the Fermi-Dirac function becomes dramatically steeper.
For electrons with an energy \(\varepsilon\gg mc^2\), where \(m\) is the mass of the electron, the energy is given by \(\varepsilon\approx pc\) where \(p\) is the momentum. For electrons in a cube of volume \(V=L^3\) the momentum takes the same values as for a non-relativistic particle in a box.
Show that in this extreme relativistic limit the Fermi energy of a gas of \(N\) electrons is given by \begin{align} \varepsilon_F &= \hbar\pi c\left(\frac{3n}{\pi}\right)^{\frac13} \end{align} where \(n\equiv \frac{N}{V}\) is the number density.
Show that the total energy of the ground state of the gas is \begin{align} U_0 &= \frac34 N\varepsilon_F \end{align}
Show that a Fermi electron gas in the ground state exerts a pressure \begin{align} p = \frac{\left(3\pi^2\right)^{\frac23}}{5} \frac{\hbar^2}{m}\left(\frac{N}{V}\right)^{\frac53} \end{align} In a uniform decrease of the volume of a cube every orbital has its energy raised: The energy of each orbital is proportional to \(\frac1{L^2}\) or to \(\frac1{V^{\frac23}}\).
Find an expression for the entropy of a Fermi electron gas in the region \(kT\ll \varepsilon_F\). Notice that \(S\rightarrow 0\) as \(T\rightarrow 0\).
Problem
(K&K 7.11) Show for a single orbital of a fermion system that \begin{align} \left<(\Delta N)^2\right> = \left<N\right>(1+\left<N\right>) \end{align} if \(\left<N\right>\) is the average number of fermions in that orbital. Notice that the fluctuation vanishes for orbitals with energies far enough from the chemical potential \(\mu\) so that \(\left<N\right>=1\) or \(\left<N\right>=0\).
Problem
The following two problems ask you to make Fermi estimates. In a good Fermi estimate, you start from basic scientific facts you already know or quantities that you can reasonably estimate based on your life experiences and then reason your way to estimate a quantity that you would not be able guess. You may look up useful conversion factors or constants. Use words, pictures, and equations to explain your reasoning:
- Imagine that you send a pea-sized bead of silver through a Stern-Gerlach device oriented to measure the z-component of intrinsic spin. Estimate the total z-component of the intrinsic spin of the ball you would measure in the HIGHLY improbable case that every atom is spin up.
- Protons, neutrons, and electrons are all spin-1/2 particles. Give a (very crude) order of magnitude estimate of the number of these particles in your body.
Problem
Consider a system that may be unoccupied with energy zero, or occupied by one particle in either of two states, one of energy zero and one of energy \(\varepsilon\). Find the Gibbs sum for this system is in terms of the activity \(\lambda\equiv e^{\beta\mu}\). Note that the system can hold a maximum of one particle.
Solve for the thermal average occupancy of the system in terms of \(\lambda\).
Show that the thermal average occupancy of the state at energy \(\varepsilon\) is \begin{align} \langle N(\varepsilon)\rangle = \frac{\lambda e^{-\frac{\varepsilon}{kT}}}{\mathcal{Z}} \end{align}
Find an expression for the thermal average energy of the system.
Allow the possibility that the orbitals at \(0\) and at \(\varepsilon\) may each be occupied each by one particle at the same time; Show that \begin{align} \mathcal{Z} &= 1 + \lambda + \lambda e^{-\frac{\varepsilon}{kT}} + \lambda^2 e^{-\frac{\varepsilon}{kT}} \\ &= (1+\lambda)\left(1+e^{-\frac{\varepsilon}{kT}}\right) \end{align} Because \(\mathcal{Z}\) can be factored as shown, we have in effect two independent systems.
In this activity students work out energy level transitions in hydrogen that lead to visible light.
This is the first activity relating the surfaces to the corresponding contour diagrams, thus emphasizing the use of multiple representations.
Students work in small groups to interpret level curves representing different concentrations of lead.