What is macroscopic and microscopic system


The terms microscopic and macroscopic (from ancient Greekμικρόςmikrós "small", μακρόςmakrós "wide, large" and σκοπεῖνskopeĩn "observe, look at") differentiate between perspectives that focus on the small or ignore it.

In some cases this corresponds to whether one uses a magnifying glass or a microscope to observe, or whether one restricts oneself to the structures visible to the naked eye:

  • Macroscopic: visible with the naked eye (clear vision)
  • Microscopic: only with a device for magnification, e.g. B. magnifying glass or microscope, visible

Table of Contents


In medicine, it is called viewing with the naked eye Macroscopy (see also Macroscopic Anatomy).


In physics is with the term microscopic usually a consideration at the level of particles (e.g. atoms or their components) is meant, in which typical quantum effects such as interference of the wave function are taken into account. With macroscopic Particularly in thermodynamics, the consideration of statistical quantities is associated. The behavior of a system is not derived from the behavior of its smallest components. For example, a gas is macroscopically homogeneous; microscopically it consists of individual molecules with a lot of empty space in between. The difference between microscopic and macroscopic description is particularly noticeable when it comes to temperature.

Chemistry and Solid State Physics

In solid-state physics and chemistry, a transition area between microscopic and macroscopic is called mesoscopic (from ancient Greekμέσοςmesos "in the middle, in the middle"). Here, material properties depend on the size of the system, for example due to a large free path, but the large number of atoms prevents the energy spectrum from being resolved into discrete levels. To put it simply, the mesoscopic range extends on a length scale from approximately one nanometer to approximately one micrometer.[1]

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Klaus Stierstadt: Thermodynamics. From microphysics to macrophysics, Springer, Heidelberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-642-05098-5, p. 11.

Categories:natural Science

Status of information: 02/25/2021 12:18:50 PM CET

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