|Jun14-12, 05:37 AM||#1|
degrees of freedom of an oscillator in an Einstein solid
I was reading through a book on statistical physics when i came across this sentence: "An Einstein solid has two degrees of freedom for every oscillator."
How is this possible? I picture an oscillator (ex. mass on spring) to move only in one dimension, thus one degree of freedom. Where does the second degree of freedom come from?
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|Jun14-12, 06:39 AM||#2|
I am actually puzzled why there are 2 degrees of freedom, and not 3.
There are many ways to picture an oscillator.
A mass on a spring is good for 1D, but you can generalize that also to more dimensions:
Put the mass in the center of a square and attach 4 identical springs from the corners to the mass. Now the mass can oscillate in two directions. do the same with an octahedron, and the mass can oscillate in 3 directions.
A crystal corresponds best to this last case. Just instead of springs you have electric potentials (and a load of QM effects).
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