AskDefine | Define thermalization

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Alternative spellings


  1. The process of reaching thermal equilibrium by mutual interaction


Extensive Definition

In physics, thermalisation (in American English thermalization) is the process of particles reaching thermal equilibrium through mutual interaction.
When a molecule absorbs energy, as in the technique of molecular fluorescence, the lifetime of the excited state is ~10-12 sec. Then it rapidly loses energy to the lowest level of the lowest excited state; this is called thermalization.
In general the natural tendency of a system towards a state of equipartition of energy or uniform temperature. This raises the system’s entropy.
Examples of thermalisation include:
  • the achievement of equilibrium in a plasma
  • the process undergone by high-energy neutrons as they lose energy by collision.
thermalization in French: Thermalisation
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