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6
votes
2answers
415 views

Is there a phase transition between a gas and plasma?

Does a phase transition occur as a gas is heated to create a plasma? If so, is this a first or second order phase transition? Also, does the presence of a phase transition depend on the pressure or ...
0
votes
1answer
98 views

What is the 'super' parameter of superconductivity and what is the role of Cooper pair?

Only thing I know about superconductors is that here the electrical current face zero resistance. My first question is what is 'super' (physical or mathematical entity) about a superconductor. Or more ...
13
votes
1answer
340 views

Does this type of phase transition exist?

The short version of this question is: Is there, or could there be, a system with a phase transition where adding a small amount of heat causes a discontinuous jump in its temperature? Below are ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

First and second order phase transitions

Recently I've been puzzling over the definitions of first and second order phase transitions. The Wikipedia article (at the time of writing) starts by explaining that Ehrenfest's original definition ...
3
votes
0answers
183 views

Some ambiguous points on Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking (SSB)?

Almost in every textbook of condensed matter physics, the standard description of SSB could be formulated as follows: Consider the lattice Heisenberg model in an external magnetic field ...
9
votes
1answer
399 views

Definition of phase transitions in statistical mechanics

Phase transitions in statistical mechanics are usually taught by working through a bunch of examples. I decided to try and think about them from a more "fundamental" point of view - but I've run into ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Vapor Pressure and Container

The following comes from my text and concerns vapor pressure: Consider a liquid in a closed, cylindrical container that is half full. The molecules at the surface of the container and along the edges ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Reconciling Different Vapor Pressure Definitions

In describing vapor pressure, I have often heard the following intuition: Assume a closed container that is partially filled with water. Above the water lies a vacuum. The water will vaporize until ...
3
votes
1answer
185 views

Symmetry breaking in Bose-Hubbard model

According to Landau's symmetry breaking theory, there is a symmetry breaking when phase transition occurs. What is the symmetry breaking of superfluid-Mott insulator transition in Bose-Hubbard ...
0
votes
2answers
107 views

What are correlated magnetic moments?

My book has the following sentence and I don't understand what correlation or lack of correlation means: At high temperature the magnetic moments of adjacent atoms are uncorrelated (to maximize ...
9
votes
2answers
352 views

Could spontaneous symmetry breaking happen again in our universe?

It is generally believed that $10^{-35}$ seconds after the Big Bang, the symmetry of a GUT was broken and after $10^{-12}$ seconds the electroweak force was broken: \begin{equation} \mathrm{SU(2)} ...
2
votes
3answers
414 views

Why the free energy is called 'free'?

The free energy, $F$ of a thermodynamic system at a given temperature $T$, is defined as, \begin{equation} e^{-\beta F} = \mathcal{Z} = \sum_{\{configuration\}} e^{-\beta E(configuration) } ...
6
votes
0answers
149 views

What is the relation between the representation the Higgs field transforms under, the types of couplings in the theory and Higgs/Coulomb branches?

When reading about Higgs and Coulomb 'phases' I came across two separate definitions: The first tells us that the Higgs/Coulomb phases are determined by the representation that the Higgs field ...