Scientific Results

Phase transitions at high energy vindicate negative microcanonical temperature

Year: 2017

Authors: Buonsante P., Franzosi R., Smerzi A.

Autors Affiliation: QSTAR & CNR–Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Largo Enrico Fermi 2, I-50125 Firenze, Italy

Abstract: The notion of negative absolute temperature emerges naturally from Boltzmann’s definition of “surface” microcanonical entropy in isolated systems with a bounded energy density. Recently, the well-posedness of such construct has been challenged, on account that only the Gibbs “volume” entropy—and the strictly positive temperature thereof—would give rise to a consistent thermodynamics. Here we present analytical and numerical evidence that Boltzmann microcanonical entropy provides a consistent thermometry for both signs of the
temperature. In particular, we show that Boltzmann (negative) temperature allows the description of phase transitions occurring at high energy densities, at variance with Gibbs temperature. Our results apply to nonlinear lattice models standardly employed to describe the propagation of light in arrays of coupled wave guides and the dynamics of ultracold gases trapped in optical lattices. Optically induced photonic lattices, characterized by saturable nonlinearity, are particularly appealing because they offer the possibility of observing states and phase transitions at both signs of the temperature.


Volume: 95 (5)      Pages from: 052135-1  to: 052135-12

KeyWords: Statistical Mechanics; Microcanonical ensemble; Bose-Einstein condensates; Optically induced photonic lattices;
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.95.052135

Citations: 8
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