Chapter

Phase transitions and critical phenomena

Hidetoshi Nishimori and Gerardo Ortiz

in Elements of Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577224
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191722943 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577224.003.0001

Series: Oxford Graduate Texts

Phase transitions and critical phenomena

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As an introduction to the physics of phase transitions and critical phenomena, this chapter explains a number of basic and fundamental ideas such as phases, phase transitions, phase diagrams, universality, and critical phenomena. Especially important is the concept of order parameter, a quantity that measures the degree of asymmetry in the broken symmetry phase. Intuitive accounts are given to the concepts of coarse-graining, and scale and renormalization group transformations, which are powerful, systematic tools to analyze critical behaviour of macroscopic systems. Also explained are several spin and lattice gas model systems, on the basis of which phase transitions and critical phenomena will be studied.

Keywords: phase transitions; critical phenomena; phase diagram; scale transformation; coarse graining; order parameter; broken symmetry; renormalization group; universality; lattice models

Chapter.  6590 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Mathematical and Statistical Physics

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