Boltzmann factor and partition function

  • Thread starter Mjdgard
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I got a problem by finding an proper explanation.

The Boltzmann factor is defined as
[itex]P_j=\frac{1}{Z}e^{-\beta E_j}[/itex]
I know, this is a probability distribution. but what exactly does it mean?

Wikipedia says: "The probability Pj that the system occupies microstate j" (link)
But that doesen make sense to me. cos [itex]\sum_i[/itex] is equal to 1.
That would only make sense if i look at ONLY 1 particle and not a system with n particles IMHO.


Then i got this Partition function Z.
It is defined as [itex]Z=\sum_i g_i e^{- \frac{E_i}{k_BT}[/itex]
with a factor gi denoting the degeneracy of energy states.

What is gi? i thought it's the number of different states in this energy level. but that's not likely cos in the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution there's no pauli law...

:cry:

thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Hurkyl
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If it didn't add up to 1, then it wouldn't be a probability now, would it? :tongue:

Anyways, the quote talks about the microstates of the system: in other words, it would include something about the state of each individual component of the system.
 

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