Volume 86, Number 2, April 2009
Article Number 20010
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 06 May 2009
EPL, 86 (2009) 20010
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/86/20010

Non-asymptotic thermodynamic ensembles

R. K. Niven

School of Aerospace, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, The University of New South Wales at ADFA Northcott Drive, Canberra, ACT, 2600, Australia

received 22 September 2008; accepted in final form 1 April 2009; published April 2009
published online 6 May 2009

Boltzmann's principle is used to select the “most probable” realisation (macrostate) of an isolated or closed thermodynamic system, containing a small number of particles $(N \ll \infty)$, for both classical and quantum statistics. The inferred probability distributions provide the means to define intensive variables and construct thermodynamic relationships for small microcanonical systems, which do not satisfy the thermodynamic limit. This is of critical importance to nanoscience and quantum technology.

02.50.Tt - Inference methods.
05.20.-y - Classical statistical mechanics.
05.70.-a - Thermodynamics.

© EPLA 2009