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We investigate the thermodynamic properties of a two-dimensional d-wave superconductor in the vortex state using a semiclassical approach, and argue that such an approach is valid for the analysis of the experimental data on high-temperature superconductors. We develop a formalism where the spatial average of a physical quantity is written as an integral over the probability density of the Doppler shift, and evaluate this probability density for several model cases. The approach is then used to analyze the behavior of the specific heat and the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spin-lattice relaxation rate in a magnetic field. We compare our results with the experimental measurements, and explain the origin of the discrepancy between the results from different groups. We also address the observability of the recently predicted fourfold oscillations of the specific heat for the magnetic field parallel to the copper oxide planes. We consider both the orbital and the Zeeman effects, and conclude that at experimentally relevant temperatures Zeeman splitting does not appreciably reduce the anisotropy, although it does change the field dependence of the anisotropic specific heat. We predict a scaling law for the nonexponentially decaying NMR magnetization, and discuss different approaches to the effective relaxation rate. © 2001 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics