Nuclei are finite representatives of infinite nuclear matter which is expected to undergo a phase transition similar to the macroscopic liquid-gas transition. We rely on a simple classical spin model in order to study the characterization of phase transitions whose existence can be observed in small systems. It is shown that finite systems may undergo transitions whose order is not, in specific cases, the effective order which is observed in the corresponding infinite (large) system. We show that scaling properties of order parameter fluctuation distributions related to the fragment content of the system may allow to signal the existence of a thermodynamic transition.
order of phase transition finite systems nuclear fragmentation
05.70.Fh 25.70.Pq 75.40.Cx
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