Date of Thesis

Spring 2020


Similar to various series expansions that are used to approximate mathematical func- tions, the linked-cluster expansion is an approximation method that allows us to approach the actual values of a very large physical system’s different physical quan- tities by systematically studying smaller systems embedded in this larger system. The main concept in linked-cluster expansion, weight, represents the additional con- tribution to a certain physical quantity by increasing the system size by one unit. These weights are used to eventually build up the result on a larger system. In our case, we focus on the partition function, a quantity that can be used to calculate several essential thermodynamic aspects of the system such as average energy, spe- cific heat, magnetic susceptibility, etc. We study these weights for the Ising and Potts models on a one dimensional lattice and Bethe lattice, with and without an external magnetic field. Previous studies have shown that in the one dimensional Ising model, adding more than two lattice sites to the system does not create any ad- ditional contribution to the partition function (i.e. their weights are all zero), giving us the result for an infinitely large system with just two lattice sites, a remarkable simplification. In our study, we prove that this property holds not only for the Ising model, but also its generalization, the Potts model, and show that it is a result of a spin flip symmetry inherent in the system. In order to test this, we break this symmetry using an externally applied magnetic field and show that in this case, for magnetic dipole energies comparable with the exchange energy between neighboring spins, this special property vanishes.


linked-cluster expansions, statistical mechanics, Ising model, Potts model, Bethe lattice, approximation method

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science


Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Deepak Iyer

Second Advisor

Martin Ligare