In statistical mechanics, the metastate is a probability measure on the space of all thermodynamic states for a system with quenched randomness. The term metastate, in this context, was first used in.[clarification needed] Two different versions have been proposed:
1) The Aizenman-Wehr construction, a canonical ensemble approach, constructs the metastate through an ensemble of states obtained by varying the random parameters in the Hamiltonian outside of the volume being considered.
2) The Newman-Stein metastate, a microcanonical ensemble approach, constructs an empirical average from a deterministic (i.e., chosen independently of the randomness) subsequence of finite-volume Gibbs distributions.
It was proved for Euclidean lattices that there always exists a deterministic subsequence along which the Newman-Stein and Aizenman-Wehr constructions result in the same metastate. The metastate is especially useful in systems where deterministic sequences of volumes fail to converge to a thermodynamic state, and/or there are many competing observable thermodynamic states.
As an alternative usage, "metastate" can refer thermodynamic states, where the system is in metastable state (for example superheating or undercooling liquids, when the actual temperature are above or below the boiling or freezing temperature, but the material is still in liquid state).
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