Prenucleation at the Liquid/Substrate Interface: An Overview
H Men and CM Fang and ZY Fan, METALS, 12, 1704 (2022).
Prenucleation refers to the phenomenon of substrate-induced atomic ordering in the liquid adjacent to the liquid/substrate interface at temperatures above the nucleation temperature. We investigated the effects of the physical and chemical properties of the substrate on prenucleation, using the classical molecular dynamics (MD) and ab initio MD simulations. We found that the physical origin of prenucleation is structural templating, which is affected significantly by the lattice misfit between the solid and the substrate, chemical interaction between the solid and the substrate, and the substrate surface roughness at the atomic level. Prenucleation ultimately determines the nucleation potency of a substrate and provides a precursor for heterogeneous nucleation at the nucleation temperature. In this paper, we provide an overview of the recent advances in the understanding of prenucleation made by the LiME Research Hub. After a brief review of the historical research on atomic ordering at the liquid/substrate interface in the literature, we present an overview of the recent advances in understanding prenucleation, covering the concept of prenucleation, the effect of temperature, lattice misfit and substrate chemistry, and substrate surface roughness at the atomic level. Our discussions will be focused on the effect of prenucleation on heterogeneous nucleation and its consequences on grain refinement.
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