The emergence of evidence for collectivity and strangeness enhancement in small colliding systems has raised urgent questions surrounding the apparent absence of energy loss among the observables that are traditionally attributed to the presence of a Quark Gluon Plasma in heavy ion collisions. However, theoretical difficulties abound in the calculation of any measure of the energy loss, resulting in methods that were highly successful in the heavy ion regime coming up empty handed in the small system arena. We present a novel approach, generalizing standard thermal field theory and thermodynamic techniques, to probe the thermodynamic behavior of a small system. We consider first a single free scalar field theory that is geometrically confined. We investigate the partition function along with the usual thermodynamic quantities, as well as the thermodynamic stability and statistical fluctuations of such a system. Our results, while still approaching the Stefan-Boltzmann limit for large systems, offer new insights into the thermodynamics of smaller systems and exhibit new, Casimir-like effects, thereby also providing a natural solution to the so-called infra-red Linde problem.
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