Nucleation in open systems

Professor David Quigley, University of Warwick. Part of the physical seminar series.

Accessing quantitative information on crystal nucleation rates remains a challenge. Such rates are a valuable input to solidification models with relevance to materials synthesis, fouling and pathogenic crystal formation in the body. Calculating these rates from molecular simulations is expensive, and prone to uncertainties which can span several orders of magnitude. Nevertheless, progress has been made in extracting useful trends and comparisons when considering nucleation from the melt. These calculations use a variety of simulation and analysis techniques, many of which rely on the assumptions of classical nucleation theory. In this talk I will discuss additional problems which arise when simulating nucleation from solution, focussing on the challenges of quantifying kinetics in open systems away from equilibrium. These will be illustrated with results from both molecular simulations and abstract lattice models.