# Introduction to Mathematical Physics/N body problems and statistical equilibrium/Quantum perfect gases

## Introduction[edit | edit source]

Consider a quantum perfect gas, {\it i. e.}, a system of independent particle that have to be described using quantum mechanics, \index{quantum perfect gas} in equilibrium with a particle reservoir [ph:physt:Diu89] and with a thermostat. The description adopted is called "grand--canonical". It can be shown that the solution of the entropy maximalization problem (using Lagrange multipliers method) provides the occupation probability of a state characterized by an energy an a number of particle :

with

Assume that the independent particles that constitute the system are in addition identical undiscernible. State can then be defined by the datum of the states of individual particles.

figoccup

Let
be the energy of a particle in the state
.
The energy of the system in state
is then:

where

is the number of particles that are in a state of energy

.

This number is called occupation number of state of energy\index{occupation number} (see figure figoccup). Thus:

Partition function becomes:

with

The average particles number in the system is given by:

that can be written:

where represents the average occupation number and is defined by following equality:

## Fermion gases[edit | edit source]

If particles are fermions\index{fermions}, from Pauli
principle\index{Pauli principle}, occupation number value can
only be either zero (there is no particle in state with energy
)
or one (a unique particle has an energy
).
The expression of partition function then allows to evaluate the various
thermodynamical properties of the considered system. An application example of
this formalism is the study of electrical
properties of **semiconductors** [ph:physt:Diu89]
\index{metal}\index{semi-conductor}.
Fermion gases can also be used to model *white dwarfs*
\index{white dwarf}.
A white dwarf is a star [ph:physt:Diu89] very dense: its mass is of the
order of an ordinary star's mass
\index{star}
(as sun), but its radius is 50 to 100 times smaller.
Gravitational pressure implies star contraction. This pressure in an ordinary
star is compensated by thermonuclear reaction that occur in the centre of the
star. But is a white wharf, such reactions do not occur no more. Moreover, one
can show that speed of electrons of the star is very small. As all electrons
can not be is the same state from Pauli principle^{[1]}
, they thus exert a pressure. This pressure called "quantum pressure"
compensates gravitational pressure and avoid the star to collapse completely.

## Boson gases[edit | edit source]

If particles are bosons, from Pauli principle, occupation number can have any positive or zero value:

is sum of geometrical series of reason:

where is fixed. Series converges if

It can be shown [ph:physt:Diu89] that at low temperatures, bosons gather in the state of lowest energy. This phenomena is called Bose condensation.\index{Bose condensation}

**Remark:**

Photons are bosons whose number is not conserved. This confers them a very peculiar behaviour: their chemical potential is zero.

- ↑ Indeed, the state of an electron in a box is determined by its energy, its position is not defined in quantum mechanics.