Heterogeneous nucleation in the low-barrier regime

Benjamin Scheifele, Ivan Saika-Voivod, Richard K. Bowles, and Peter H. Poole
Phys. Rev. E 87, 042407 – Published 26 April 2013


In simulations of the two-dimensional Ising model, we examine heterogeneous nucleation induced by a small impurity consisting of a line of l fixed spins. As l increases, we identify a limit of stability beyond which the metastable phase is not defined. We evaluate the free energy barrier for nucleation of the stable phase and show that, contrary to expectation, the barrier does not vanish on approach to the limit of stability. We also demonstrate that our values for the height of the barrier yield predictions for the nucleation time (from transition state theory) and the size of the critical cluster (from the nucleation theorem) that are in excellent agreement with direct measurements, even near the limit of stability.

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  • Received 5 August 2012


©2013 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Benjamin Scheifele1, Ivan Saika-Voivod2, Richard K. Bowles3, and Peter H. Poole1

  • 1Department of Physics, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada B2G 2W5
  • 2Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada A1B 3X7
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 57N 5C9

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Vol. 87, Iss. 4 — April 2013

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