Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 51-84

First online:

Phase Separation in Confined Geometries

  • Kurt BinderAffiliated withInstitut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg—Universität Mainz
  • , Sanjay PuriAffiliated withSchool of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • , Subir K. DasAffiliated withTheoretical Sciences Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
  • , Jürgen HorbachAffiliated withInstitut für Materialphysik im Weltraum, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) Email author 

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The kinetics of phase separation or domain growth, subsequent to temperature quenches of binary mixtures from the one-phase region into the miscibility gap, still remains a challenging problem of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. We have an incomplete understanding of many aspects of the growth of concentration inhomogeneities, including the effect of surfaces on this process, and the interplay with wetting phenomena and finite-size effects in thin films. In the present paper, an overview of the simulation approaches to this problem is given, with an emphasis on solutions of a diffusive Ginzburg-Landau model. We also discuss two recent alternative approaches: a local molecular field approximation to the Kawasaki spin exchange model on a lattice; and molecular dynamics simulations of a fluid binary Lennard-Jones mixture. A brief outlook to open questions is also given.


Domain growth Ginzburg-Landau theory Molecular dynamics simulation Thin films Surface-directed spinodal decomposition