Europhys. Lett.
Volume 76, Number 1, October 2006
Page(s) 81 - 87
Section Condensed matter: structural, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 30 August 2006
Europhys. Lett., 76 (1), pp. 81-87 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10229-y

Phase field theory of surface- and size-induced microstructures

V. I. Levitas1, D.-W. Lee1 and D. L. Preston2

1  Texas Tech University, Center for Mechanochemistry and Synthesis of New Materials Department of Mechanical Engineering - Lubbock, TX 79409-1021, USA
2  Physics Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory - Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA

received 5 June 2006; accepted 7 August 2006
published online 30 August 2006

New surface- and size-induced microstructures are found as analytic solutions to a phase field theory of first-order phase transformations. A recently developed exact stability criterion, based on most destabilizing fluctuations, is used to analyze the stability and physical interpretation of each microstructure. Conditions for barrierless surface nucleation, i.e. relationship between surface energy, driving force for the transformation and sample size, are found. If they are met, some of these microstructures are destroyed resulting in the barrierless transformation to alternative phases.

64.60.-i - General studies of phase transitions.

© EDP Sciences 2006