Template-Induced Precursor Formation in Heterogeneous Nucleation: Controlling Polymorph Selection and Nucleation Efficiency

Díaz Leines, G. and Rogal, J.

Volume: 128 Pages:
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.128.166001
Published: 2022

We present an atomistic study of heterogeneous nucleation in Ni employing transition path sampling, which reveals a template precursor-mediated mechanism of crystallization. Most notably, we find that the ability of tiny templates to modify the structural features of the liquid and promote the formation of precursor regions with enhanced bond-orientational order is key to determining their nucleation efficiency and the polymorphs that crystallize. Our results reveal an intrinsic link between structural liquid heterogeneity and the nucleating ability of templates, which significantly advances our understanding toward the control of nucleation efficiency and polymorph selection. © 2022 American Physical Society.

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