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Large scale molecular dynamics simulations of homogeneous nucleation


Diemand, Jürg; Angélil, Raymond; Tanaka, Kyoko K; Tanaka, Hidekazu (2013). Large scale molecular dynamics simulations of homogeneous nucleation. Journal of Chemical Physics, 139(7):074309.

Abstract

We present results from large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of homogeneous vapor-to-liquid nucleation. The simulations contain between 1 × 109 and 8 × 109 Lennard-Jones (LJ) atoms, covering up to 1.2 μs (56 × 106 time-steps). They cover a wide range of supersaturation ratios, S ~= 1.55-104, and temperatures from kT = 0.3 to 1.0ɛ (where ɛ is the depth of the LJ potential, and k is the Boltzmann constant). We have resolved nucleation rates as low as 1017 cm-3 s-1 (in the argon system), and critical cluster sizes as large as 100 atoms. Recent argon nucleation experiments probe nucleation rates in an overlapping range, making the first direct comparison between laboratory experiments and molecular dynamics simulations possible: We find very good agreement within the uncertainties, which are mainly due to the extrapolations of argon and LJ saturation curves to very low temperatures. The self-consistent, modified classical nucleation model of Girshick and Chiu [J. Chem. Phys. 93, 1273 (1990)] underestimates the nucleation rates by up to 9 orders of magnitudes at low temperatures, and at kT = 1.0ɛ it overestimates them by up to 105. The predictions from a semi-phenomenological model by Laaksonen et al. [Phys. Rev. E 49, 5517 (1994)] are much closer to our MD results, but still differ by factors of up to 104 in some cases. At low temperatures, the classical theory predicts critical clusters sizes, which match the simulation results (using the first nucleation theorem) quite well, while the semi-phenomenological model slightly underestimates them. At kT = 1.0ɛ, the critical sizes from both models are clearly too small. In our simulations the growth rates per encounter, which are often taken to be unity in nucleation models, lie in a range from 0.05 to 0.24. We devise a new, empirical nucleation model based on free energy functions derived from subcritical cluster abundances, and find that it performs well in estimating nucleation rates.

We present results from large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of homogeneous vapor-to-liquid nucleation. The simulations contain between 1 × 109 and 8 × 109 Lennard-Jones (LJ) atoms, covering up to 1.2 μs (56 × 106 time-steps). They cover a wide range of supersaturation ratios, S ~= 1.55-104, and temperatures from kT = 0.3 to 1.0ɛ (where ɛ is the depth of the LJ potential, and k is the Boltzmann constant). We have resolved nucleation rates as low as 1017 cm-3 s-1 (in the argon system), and critical cluster sizes as large as 100 atoms. Recent argon nucleation experiments probe nucleation rates in an overlapping range, making the first direct comparison between laboratory experiments and molecular dynamics simulations possible: We find very good agreement within the uncertainties, which are mainly due to the extrapolations of argon and LJ saturation curves to very low temperatures. The self-consistent, modified classical nucleation model of Girshick and Chiu [J. Chem. Phys. 93, 1273 (1990)] underestimates the nucleation rates by up to 9 orders of magnitudes at low temperatures, and at kT = 1.0ɛ it overestimates them by up to 105. The predictions from a semi-phenomenological model by Laaksonen et al. [Phys. Rev. E 49, 5517 (1994)] are much closer to our MD results, but still differ by factors of up to 104 in some cases. At low temperatures, the classical theory predicts critical clusters sizes, which match the simulation results (using the first nucleation theorem) quite well, while the semi-phenomenological model slightly underestimates them. At kT = 1.0ɛ, the critical sizes from both models are clearly too small. In our simulations the growth rates per encounter, which are often taken to be unity in nucleation models, lie in a range from 0.05 to 0.24. We devise a new, empirical nucleation model based on free energy functions derived from subcritical cluster abundances, and find that it performs well in estimating nucleation rates.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:August 2013
Deposited On:10 Feb 2014 16:57
Last Modified:12 May 2016 13:16
Publisher:American Institute of Physics
ISSN:0021-9606
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4818639
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-90647

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