Prenucleation Induced by Crystalline Substrates
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Prenucleation refers to the phenomenon of atomic ordering in the liquid adjacent to the substrate/liquid interface at temperatures above the liquidus. In this paper, we have systematically investigated and holistically quantified the prenucleation phenomenon as a function of temperature and the lattice misfit between the substrate and the solid, using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Our results have confirmed that at temperatures above the liquidus, the atoms in the liquid at the interface may exhibit pronounced atomic ordering, manifested by atomic layering normal to the interface, in-plane atomic ordering parallel to the interface, and the formation of a 2-dimensional (2D) ordered structure (a few atomic layers in thickness) on the substrate surface. Holistic quantification of such atomic ordering at the interface has revealed that the atomic layering is independent of lattice misfit and is only slightly enhanced by reducing temperature while both in-plane atomic ordering and the formation of the 2D ordered structure are significantly enhanced by reducing the lattice misfit and/or temperature. This substrate-induced atomic ordering in the liquid may have a significant influence on the subsequent heterogeneous nucleation process.
Authors would like to thank Dr. C.M. Fang and Professor H. Assadi for constructive discussion and Dr. I. Stone for carefully reading and correcting the manuscript. The EPSRC is gratefully acknowledged for providing financial support under Grant EP/H026177/1.
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