Nanowire melting modes during the solid-liquid phase transition: theory and molecular dynamics simulations

KM Ridings and SC Hendy, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 12, 20052 (2022).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-24654-z

Molecular dynamics simulations have shown that after initial surface melting, nanowires can melt via two mechanisms: an interface front moves towards the wire centre; the growth of instabilities at the interface can cause the solid to pinch-off and breakup. By perturbing a capillary fluctuation model describing the interface kinetics, we show when each mechanism is preferred and compare the results to molecular dynamics simulation. A Plateau-Rayleigh-type of instability is found and suggests longer nanowires will melt via an instability mechanism, whereas in shorter nanowires the melting front will move closer to the centre before the solid pinch-off can initiate. Simulations support this theory; preferred modes that destabilise the interface are proportional to the wire length, with longer nanowires preferring to pinch-off and melt; shorter wires have a more stable interface close to their melting temperature, and prefer to melt via an interface front that moves towards the wire centre.

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