Phase transitions in multicomponent systems at the nano-scale: the existence of a minimal bubble size
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The formation of nanoscale droplets/bubbles from a metastable bulk phase is still connected to many unresolved scientific questions. In this work we analyze the stability of multicomponent liquid droplets and bubbles in closed Nj, V, T systems (total mass of components, total volume and temperature). To investigate this problem, square gradient theory combined with an accurate equation of state is used. We compare the results from the square gradient model to the macroscopic capillary description. We find that both predict a finite threshold size for droplets/bubbles. The work reveals a metastable region close to the minimal droplet/bubble radius. We find that the liquid compressibility is crucial for the existence of this minimum threshold size for bubble formation.