# Don't understand state number

1. Dec 21, 2008

### KFC

In textbook of statistical mechanics, there is an example considering an idealization of a crystal which has N lattice points and the same number of interstitial positions (places between the lattice points where atoms can reside). Let E be the energy necessary to remove an atom from a lattice site to an interstitial position and let n be the number of
atoms occupying interstitial sites in equilibrium. Now try to find the number of state

It is quite easy to think about this: choose n atoms from N atoms to fill n interstitial positions, number of possible configuration is given by combination

$$C_{N}^n = \frac{N!}{n!(N-n)!}$$

I think the number of state should be

$$\Omega = C_{N}^n = \frac{N!}{n!(N-n)!}$$

but the example just put

$$\Omega = \left(C_{N}^n\right)^2 = \left(\frac{N!}{n!(N-n)!}\right)^2$$

without saying why. Do you think it is a mistake?

2. Dec 21, 2008

### tiny-tim

Hi KFC!

the atoms have to come from somewhere,

and they've left gaps behind them …

so there are NCn ways of choosing where they're from, and NCn ways of choosing where they're going.

3. Dec 21, 2008

### KFC

Got it. Thanks tiny-tim, you help me a lot.

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