, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 1485-1499
Date: 20 Feb 2009

Bistability, hysteresis and fluctuations in adiabatic ensembles of nanoparticles

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Abstract

A presuppositionless thermodynamic analysis of the phase transformations of nanoparticles in an adiabatic enclosure leads to a series of predictions of the transformation behavior. These predictions are perfectly confirmed with experimental results, which have been difficult to be explained until now. The most important predicted and validated phenomena are: (i) a broad range of bistability or hysteresis in the vicinity of the transformation temperature, (ii) the width of this range increases with increasing particle size and with increasing temperature, and (iii) the transformation temperature may be higher than the one for bulk material. As in reality, an experiment can never be performed in an idealized isothermal or adiabatic environment; one always has a mixture of these conditions. This influences the results. The outcome of this analysis explains why different authors report, probably dependent on experimental conditions, widely scattering results.

Within this article, upper case letters are referring to one mole of the material and lower case letters refer to one particle.