Nucleation Theory

Lecture Notes in Physics

Book 860
Springer
Free sample

One of the most striking phenomena in condensed matter physics is the occurrence of abrupt transitions in the structure of a substance at certain temperatures or pressures. These are first order phase transitions, and examples such as the freezing of water are familiar in everyday life. The conditions at which the transformation takes place can sometimes vary. For example, the freezing point of water is not always 0°C, but the liquid can be supercooled considerably if it is pure enough and treated carefully. The reason for this phenomenon is nucleation.

This monograph covers all major available routes of theoretical research of nucleation phenomena (phenomenological models, semi-phenomenological theories, density functional theories, microscopic and semi-microscopic approaches), with emphasis on the formation of liquid droplets from a metastable vapor. Also, it illustrates the application of these various approaches to experimentally relevant problems.

In spite of the familiarity of the involved phenomena, it is still impossible to calculate nucleation accurately, as the properties and the kinetics of the daughter phase are insufficiently well known. Existing theories based upon classical nucleation theory have on the whole explained the trends in behavior correctly. However they often fail spectacularly to account for new data, in particular in the case of binary or, more generally, multi-component nucleation. The current challenge of this book is to go beyond such classical models and provide a more satisfactory theory by using density functional theory and microscopic computer simulations in order to describe the properties of small clusters. Also, semi-phenomenological models are proposed, which attempt to relate the properties of small clusters to known properties of the bulk phases.

This monograph is an introduction as well as a compendium to researchers in soft condensed matter physics and chemical physics, graduate and post-graduate students in physics and chemistry starting on research in the area of nucleation, and to experimentalists wishing to gain a better understanding of the efforts being made to account for their data.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
Nov 28, 2012
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Pages
316
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ISBN
9789048136438
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Chemistry / Physical & Theoretical
Science / Mechanics / Fluids
Science / Mechanics / General
Science / Physics / General
Science / Physics / Mathematical & Computational
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This content is DRM protected.
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Over the past few decades the powerful methods of statistical physics and Euclidean quantum field theory have moved closer together, with common tools based on the use of path integrals. The interpretation of Euclidean field theories as particular systems of statistical physics has opened up new avenues for understanding strongly coupled quantum systems or quantum field theories at zero or finite temperatures.

Accordingly, the first chapters of this book contain a self-contained introduction to path integrals in Euclidean quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics. The resulting high-dimensional integrals can be estimated with the help of Monte Carlo simulations based on Markov processes. The most commonly used algorithms are presented in detail so as to prepare the reader for the use of high-performance computers as an “experimental” tool for this burgeoning field of theoretical physics.

Several chapters are then devoted to an introduction to simple lattice field theories and a variety of spin systems with discrete and continuous spins, where the ubiquitous Ising model serves as an ideal guide for introducing the fascinating area of phase transitions. As an alternative to the lattice formulation of quantum field theories, variants of the flexible renormalization group methods are discussed in detail. Since, according to our present-day knowledge, all fundamental interactions in nature are described by gauge theories, the remaining chapters of the book deal with gauge theories without and with matter.

This text is based on course-tested notes for graduate students and, as such, its style is essentially pedagogical, requiring only some basics of mathematics, statistical physics, and quantum field theory. Yet it also contains some more sophisticated concepts which may be useful to researchers in the field. Each chapter ends with a number of problems – guiding the reader to a deeper understanding of some of the material presented in the main text – and, in most cases, also features some listings of short, useful computer programs.
Within the framework of Jaynes' "Predictive Statistical Mechanics", this book presents a detailed derivation of an ensemble formalism for open systems arbitrarily away from equilibrium. This involves a large systematization and extension of the fundamental works and ideas of the outstanding pioneers Gibbs and Boltzmann, and of Bogoliubov, Kirkwood, Green, Mori, Zwanzig, Prigogine and Zubarev, among others.
Chapters 1 to 5 include a description of the philosophy, foundations, and construction (methodology) of the formalism, including the derivation of a nonequilibrium grand-canonical ensemble for far-from-equilibrium systems as well as the derivation of a quantum nonlinear kinetic theory and a response function theory together with a theory of scattering. In chapter 6 applications of the theory are cataloged, making comparisons with experimental data (a basic step for the validation of any theory). Chapter 7 is devoted to the description of irreversible thermodynamics, providing a far-reaching generalization of Informational-Statistical Thermodynamics. The last chapter gives an overall picture of the formalism, and questions and criticisms related to it are discussed.
Audience: This book is directed at an audience of researchers in the field of Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics of open nonequilibrium systems. In addition, it is relevant for the study of far-from-equilibrium processes in condensed matter, particularly semiconductor physics, as well as molecular Hydrodynamics, Rheology, many-body systems with complex behavior and areas of engineering, etc. The book can also be used as a complement to advanced graduate courses in Statistical Mechanics.
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