[062] Theoretical Evidence for a Dense Fluid Precursor to Crystallization

James F. Lutsko and Grégoire Nicolis, "Theoretical Evidence for a Dense Fluid Precursor to Crystallization", Phys. Rev. Lett., 96, 46102 (2006) http://jimlutsko.github.io/files/Lutsko_PRL_2006_1.pdf


We present classical density functional theory calculations of the free-energy landscape for fluids below their triple point as a function of density and crystallinity. We find that, both for a model globular protein and for a simple atomic fluid modeled with a Lennard-Jones interaction, it is free-energetically easier to crystallize by passing through a metastable dense fluid in accord with the Ostwald rule of stages but in contrast to the alternative of ordering and densifying at once as assumed in the classical picture of crystallization.