AskDefine | Define thermalization

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English

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Noun

  1. The process of reaching thermal equilibrium by mutual interaction

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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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