Nucleation Processes Close to the Spinodal
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Using an analytical equation of state (EOS) which describes a system that can exist in a liquid or vapor phase, a generalized Landau free-energy expansion around any spinodal point is constructed. For this simple model, the critical exponents associated with the spinodal line are obtained, and the model reduces to the usual expansion around the critical point as a particular case. The approach may become an interesting starting point to study phase separation mechanisms, such as nucleation and spinodal decomposition, far from the critical point. The decay of deeply quenched metastable states close to the spinodal through a nucleation process is analyzed and their mean lifetime is obtained. The results are compared with those obtained through the use of the usual Landau free-energy expansion around the critical point.
KeywordsLandau–Gibbs free energy Nucleation Spinodal expansion
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