[091] Classical nucleation theory from a dynamical approach to nucleation

James F. Lutsko and Miguel A. Durán-Olivencia, "Classical nucleation theory from a dynamical approach to nucleation", J. of Chemical Physics, 138, 244908 (2013) http://jimlutsko.github.io/files/Lutsko_JCP_2013_1.pdf


It is shown that diffusion-limited classical nucleation theory (CNT) can be recovered as a simple limit of the recently proposed dynamical theory of nucleation based on fluctuating hydrodynamics (Lutsko, JCP 136, 034509 (2012)). The same framework is also used to construct a more realistic theory in which clusters have finite interfacial width. When applied to the dilute solution/dense solution transition in globular proteins, it is found that the extension gives corrections to the the nucleation rate even for the case of small supersaturations due to changes in the monomer distribution function and to the excess free energy. It is also found that the monomer attachement/detachment picture breaks down at high supersaturations corresponding to clusters smaller than about 100 molecules. The results also confirm the usual assumption that most important corrections to CNT can be acheived by means of improved estimates of the free energy barrier. The theory also illustrates two topics that have received considerable attention in the recent literature on nucleation: the importance sub-dominant corrections to the capillary model for the free energy and of the correct choice of the reaction coordinate.