Formation free energy of an i-mer at spinodal
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In statistical mechanics, the formation free energy of an i-mer can be understood as the Gibbs free energy change in a system consisting of pure monomers after and prior to the formation of the i-mer. For molecules interacting via Lennard-Jones potential, we have computed the formation free energy of a Stillinger i-mer [F. H. Stillinger, J. Chem. Phys. 38, 1486 (1963)] and a ten Wolde-Frenkel (tWF) [P. R. ten Wolde and D. Frenkel, J. Chem. Phys. 109, 9901 (1998)] i-mer at spinodal at reduced temperatures from 0.7 to 1.2. It turns out that the size of a critical Stillinger i-mer remains finite and its formation free energy is on the order of kBT, and the size of a critical tWF i-mer remains finite and its formation free energy is even higher. This can be explained by Binder's theory [K. Binder, Phys. Rev. A 29, 341 (1984)] that for a system, when approaching spinodal, if the Ginzburg criterion is not satisfied, a gradual transition will take place from nucleation to spinodal decomposition, where the free-energy barrier height is on the order of kBT.
The Journal of Chemical Physics
author list (cited authors)
Nie, C., Geng, J., & Marlow, W. H.
complete list of authors
Nie, Chu||Geng, Jun||Marlow, William H