Master equation vs. partition function: canonical statistics of ideal BoseEinstein condensates Academic Article uri icon


  • Within the canonical ensemble, a partially condensed ideal Bose gas with arbitrary single-particle energies is equivalent to a system of uncoupled harmonic oscillators. We exploit this equivalence for deriving a formula which expresses all cumulants of the canonical distribution governing the number of condensate particles in terms of the poles of a generalized Zeta function provided by the single-particle spectrum. This formula lends itself to systematic asymptotic expansions which capture the non-Gaussian character of the condensate fluctuations with utmost precision even for relatively small, finite systems, as confirmed by comparison with exact numerical calculations. We use these results for assessing the accuracy of a recently developed master equation approach to the canonical condensate statistics; this approach turns out to be quite accurate even when the master equation is solved within a simple quasithermal approximation. As a further application of the cumulant formula we show that, and explain why, all cumulants of a homogeneous Bose-Einstein condensate "in a box" higher than the first retain a dependence on the boundary conditions in the thermodynamic limit. 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications

author list (cited authors)

  • Holthaus, M., Kapale, K. T., Kocharovsky, V. V., & Scully, M. O.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Holthaus, Martin||Kapale, Kishore T||Kocharovsky, Vitaly V||Scully, Marlan O

publication date

  • November 2001