Application of high-resolution dilatometry to the study of classical critical phenomena

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Date/Time:Thursday, 02 Dec 2010 - Thursday, 02 Dec 2010
Channel:Condensed Matter Physics
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Benjamin White, University of Montana

Thermal expansion is an infrequently-measured physical property which is underappreciated despite its potential application to many problems. The Pippard relation, which is a more general form of the Ehrenfest relation, guarantees that heat capacity and the coefficient of volume thermal expansion overlap in the neighborhood of TC. Satisfaction of the Pippard relation justifies that one can obtain the heat capacity critical exponent  from thermal-expansion data. This concept has rarely been exploited. We consider the advantages and disadvantages of such an analysis and discuss strategies which are uniquely suited to the characteristics of thermal expansion. These strategies are evaluated by applying them to simulated data and to data for antiferromagnetic test systems measured by high-resolution dilatometry. Through these examples, we demonstrate the merits of this unconventional application of a neglected physical property.