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Journal of Chemical Physics


Increasing interest in the thermodynamics of small and/or isolated systems, in combination with recent observations of negative temperatures of atoms in ultracold optical lattices, has stimulated the need for estimating the conventional, canonical temperature Tconvc of systems in equilibrium with heat baths using eigenstate-specific temperatures (ESTs). Four distinct ESTs—continuous canonical, discrete canonical, continuous microcanonical, and discrete microcanonical—are accordingly derived for two-level paramagnetic spin lattices (PSLs) in external magnetic fields. At large N, the four ESTs are intensive, equal to Tconvc, and obey all four laws of thermodynamics. In contrast, for N < 1000, the ESTs of most PSL eigenstates are non-intensive, differ from Tconvc, and violate each of the thermodynamic laws. Hence, in spite of their similarities to Tconvc at large N, the ESTs are not true thermodynamic temperatures. Even so, each of the ESTs manifests a unique functional dependence on energy which clearly specifies the magnitude and direction of their deviation from Tconvc; the ESTs are thus good temperature estimators for small PSLs. The thermodynamic uncertainty relation is obeyed only by the ESTs of small canonical PSLs; it is violated by large canonical PSLs and by microcanonical PSLs of any size. The ESTs of population-inverted eigenstates are negative (positive) when calculated using Boltzmann (Gibbs) entropies; the thermodynamic implications of these entropically induced differences in sign are discussed in light of adiabatic invariance of the entropies. Potential applications of the four ESTs to nanothermometers and to systems with long-range interactions are discussed.



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