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Nucleation in finite systems: Theory and computer simulation

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The free energy of formation of a droplet in a finite system containingN particles in a box of volumeV at a temperatureT is examined. For certain values of the supersaturation the free energy of formation has a maximum and a minimum. The maximum gives rise to a barrier to nucleation whereas the minimum corresponds to the formation of a stable droplet in equilibrium with vapor. Vapor imperfection and the radius dependence of the surface tension of the droplet are shown to affect the barrier and associated cluster distributions at equilibrium in significant ways. The theory is compared with computer simulation results using a Lennard-Jones fluid at a temperature of 84 K.

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Invited contribution to the Proceedings of a Workshop onThermodynamics and Kinetics of Dust Formation in the Space Medium held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 6–8 September, 1978.

Research supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF CHE 76-11002).

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Rao, M., Berne, B.J. Nucleation in finite systems: Theory and computer simulation. Astrophys Space Sci 65, 39–46 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00643488

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  • Free Energy
  • Surface Tension
  • Computer Simulation
  • Supersaturation
  • Finite System