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Journal Article

Crystal Nucleation in Supercooled Atomic Liquids


Trinter,  Florian       
Molecular Physics, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Möller, J., Schottelius, A., Caresana, M., Boesenberg, U., Kim, C., Dallari, F., et al. (2024). Crystal Nucleation in Supercooled Atomic Liquids. Physical Review Letters, 132(20): 206102. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.132.206102.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-4FEE-E
The liquid-to-solid phase transition is a complex process that is difficult to investigate experimentally with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution. A key aspect of the transition is the formation of a critical seed of the crystalline phase in a supercooled liquid, that is, a liquid in a metastable state below the melting temperature. This stochastic process is commonly described within the framework of classical nucleation theory, but accurate tests of the theory in atomic and molecular liquids are challenging. Here, we employ femtosecond x-ray diffraction from microscopic liquid jets to study crystal nucleation in supercooled liquids of the rare gases argon and krypton. Our results provide stringent limits to the validity of classical nucleation theory in atomic liquids, and offer the long-sought possibility of testing nonclassical extensions of the theory.