Thermal and Statistical Physics

Lecture 24: Fluctuation-Dissipation Theorem

Aug. 21, 2007

We finish two more examples of the Fluctuation-Dissipation Theorem. This is a theorem that pops up everywhere! It means that the very same microscopic processes responsible for establishing thermal equilibrium are the same microscopic processes that cause resistance in metals, drag in fluids, and other types of dissipation. We discuss thermal noise in resistors (also known as Johnson noise or Nyquist noise), and demonstrate the fluctuation-dissipation theorem in this system. We also derive the magnetic susceptibility of a collection of free spins in a magnetic field. It turns out (due to the fluctuation dissipation theorem, of course) that the higher the amount of thermal fluctuations in the system at thermal equilibrium, the easier it is to magnetize the system.

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