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M. Wilkens and C. Weiss
Particle number fluctuations in an ideal Bose gas
J. mod. Optics 44 (1997) 1801-1814


    We analyse occupation number fluctuations of an ideal Bose gas in a trap which is isolated from the environment with respect to particle exchange (canonical ensemble). We show that in contrast to the predictions of the grand-canonical ensemble, the counting statistics of particles in the trap ground state changes from monotonously decreasing above the condensation temperature to single-peaked below that temperature. For the exactly solvable case of a harmonic oscillator trapping potential in one spatial dimension we extract a Landau-Ginzburg functional which - despite the non-interacting nature of the system - displays the characteristic behaviour of a weakly interacting Bose gas. We also compare our findings with the usual treatment which is base on the grand-canonical ensemble. We show that for an ideal Bose gas neither are the grand-canonical and canonical ensemble thermodynamically equivalent, nor the grand-canonical ensemble can be viewed as a small system in diffusive contact with a particle reservoir.

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