Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Particles near absolute zero do not break the laws of physics after all

Date:
May 20, 2014
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
A change of models demystifies anomalous particle behavior at very low temperatures, supporting that the third law of thermodynamics cannot be violated. In theory, the laws of physics are absolute. However, when it comes to the laws of thermodynamics —- the science that studies how heat and temperature relate to energy -— there are times where they no longer seem to apply.

A change of models demystifies anomalous particle behaviour at very low temperatures, confirming that the third law of thermodynamics has not been violated.
Credit: Copyright Robert Adamietz et al

A change of models demystifies anomalous particle behaviour at very low temperatures, confirming that the third law of thermodynamics has not been violated.

In theory, the laws of physics are absolute. However, when it comes to the laws of thermodynamics -- the science that studies how heat and temperature relate to energy -- there are times where they no longer seem to apply. In a paper recently published in European Physical Journal B, Robert Adamietz from the University of Augsburg, Germany, and colleagues have demonstrated that a theoretical model of the environment's influence on a particle does not violate the third law of thermodynamics, despite appearances to the contrary. These findings are relevant for systems at the micro or nanometer scale that are difficult to decouple from the heat or the quantum effects exerted by their environment.

The authors focused on a model system favored by thermodynamics experts that consists of a free particle strongly coupled to a heat bath, representing the effect of its environment. Studies of such systems typically focus on how much energy is needed to raise their temperature by a certain amount, or so-called specific heat. Previous theoretical predictions suggested that, under certain circumstances, the specific heat can decrease below zero at a temperature of strictly zero (−273.15C). This prediction appears to breach the third law of thermodynamics, which states that the specific heat must drop to zero value at strictly zero temperature.

The authors demonstrated that the third law of thermodynamics is not actually violated. In fact, a real particle will always be confined to a finite volume -- even if that volume may be extremely large. Therefore, they discovered that previous studies need to be modified in order to account for a spatial confinement of the particle. The new model demonstrates how the negative specific heat for a truly free particle is related to a dip in the specific heat, which should be observable in the presence of a confinement.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert Adamietz, Gert-Ludwig Ingold, Ulrich Weiss. Thermodynamic anomalies in the presence of general linear dissipation: from the free particle to the harmonic oscillator. The European Physical Journal B, 2014; 87 (4) DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2014-50125-2

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Particles near absolute zero do not break the laws of physics after all." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520100325.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, May 20). Particles near absolute zero do not break the laws of physics after all. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520100325.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Particles near absolute zero do not break the laws of physics after all." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520100325.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins