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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.

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