Volume 90, Number 6, June 2010
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics|
|Published online||15 July 2010|
Negative heat capacity of small systems in the microcanonical ensemble
Department of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern University 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
2 Department of Chemistry, Purdue University - 560 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47906, USA
Accepted: 15 June 2010
We propose a new mechanism to explain the origin of negative heat capacity in small systems. We show how a particular structure of the potential energy surface combined with a microcanonical treatment results in negative heat capacity. Moreover, this effect occurs under true equilibrium conditions. An energy landscape with a sudden and spatially large opening leads to a negative heat capacity. The magnitude of this effect is related to the extent of the opening and the number of particles in the system.
PACS: 36.40.Ei – Phase transitions in clusters / 05.70.Fh – Phase transitions: general studies
© EPLA, 2010
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