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Kappa and q Indices: Dependence on the Degrees of Freedom

Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd, San Antonio, TX-78238, USA
Academic Editor: Giorgio Kaniadakis
Entropy 2015, 17(4), 2062-2081;
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 3 April 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropic Aspects in Statistical Physics of Complex Systems)
PDF [1510 KB, uploaded 8 April 2015]


The kappa distributions, or their equivalent, the q-exponential distributions, are the natural generalization of the classical Boltzmann-Maxwell distributions, applied to the study of the particle populations in collisionless space plasmas. A huge step in the development of the theory of kappa distributions and their applications in space plasma physics has been achieved with the discovery that the observed kappa distributions are connected with the solid statistical background of non-extensive statistical mechanics. Now that the statistical framework has been identified, it is straightforward to improve our understanding of the nature of the kappa index (or the entropic q-index) that governs these distributions. One critical topic is the dependence of the kappa index on the degrees of freedom. In this paper, we first show how this specific dependence is naturally emerged, using the formalism of the N-particle kappa distribution of velocities. Then, the result is extended in the presence of potential energies. It is shown that the kappa index is simply related to the kinetic and potential degrees of freedom. In addition, it is shown that various problems of non-extensive statistical mechanics, such as (i) the correlation dependence on the total number of particles; and (ii) the normalization divergence for finite kappa indices, are resolved considering the kappa index dependence on the degrees of freedom. View Full-Text
Keywords: kappa distribution; space plasma kappa distribution; space plasma
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Livadiotis, G. Kappa and q Indices: Dependence on the Degrees of Freedom. Entropy 2015, 17, 2062-2081.

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