Negative heat capacity of small systems in the microcanonical ensemble

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We propose a new mechanism to explain the origin of negative heat capacity in small systems. We show how a particular structure of the potential energy surface combined with a microcanonical treatment results in negative heat capacity. Moreover, this effect occurs under true equilibrium conditions. An energy landscape with a sudden and spatially large opening leads to a negative heat capacity. The magnitude of this effect is related to the extent of the opening and the number of particles in the system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63001
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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