On the formation/dissolution of equilibrium droplets
Department of Mathematics, UCLA - Los Angeles, CA 90095-1555, USA
2 Center for Theoretical Study, Charles University Jilská 1, 110 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Accepted: 10 July 2002
We consider liquid-vapor systems in finite-volume at parameter values corresponding to phase coexistence and study droplet formation due to a fixed excess of particles above the ambient gas density. We identify a dimensionless parameter and a universal value , and show that a droplet of the dense phase occurs whenever , while, for , the excess is entirely absorbed into the gaseous background. When the droplet first forms, it comprises a non-trivial, universal fraction of excess particles. Similar reasoning applies to generic two-phase systems at phase coexistence including solid/gas —where the “droplet” is crystalline— and polymorphic systems. A sketch of a rigorous proof for the 2D Ising lattice gas is presented; generalizations are discussed heuristically.
PACS: 05.70.Fh – Phase transitions: general studies / 64.60.Cn – Order-disorder transformations, statistical mechanics of model systems / 75.10.Hk – Classical spin models
© EDP Sciences, 2002