Pre-critical fluctuations and what they disclose about heterogeneous crystal nucleation

A computational journey into the earliest stages of crystal nucleation and growth…

One of the central quantities in the context of crystal nucleation is the critical nucleus: a bunch of atoms/molecules/particles large just enough for the system to proceed to the growth of the newborn crystalline phase. However, we argue in this work that pre-critical nuclei can provide some unexpectedly important insight as well. And, in the process of figuring this out, we actually came up with a modification of classical nucleation theory (the tool of the trade when talking nucleation…) which is necessary when the crystalline polymorph nucleating heterogeneously differs from what you get from homogeneous nucleation. Have a look at the paper here¬†– it’s open access, but for the lazy ones, here is a .pdf.