Determining phase transition using potential energy distribution and surface energy of Pd nanoparticles

M Azadeh and M Kateb and P Marashi, COMPUTATIONAL MATERIALS SCIENCE, 170, UNSP 109187 (2019).

DOI: 10.1016/j.commatsci.2019.109187

Molecular dynamics simulation is employed to understand the thermodynamic behavior of cuboctahedron (cub) and icosahedron (ico) nanoparticles with 2-20 number of shells (55-28,741 atoms). The embedded atom method was used to describe the interatomic potential. Conventional melting criteria such as potential energy and specific heat capacity (C-p) caloric curves as well as structure analysis by radial distribution function (G(r)) and common neighbor analysis (CNA) were utilized simultaneously to provide a comprehensive picture of the melting process. It is shown that the potential energy distribution and surface energy (gamma(p)) proposed here are holding several advantages over previous criteria. In particular, potential energy distribution can distinguish between interior and surface atoms and even corner, edge and plane atoms at the surface. While G(r) and CNA are not surface sensitive methods and cannot distinguish between surface melting and an allotropic transition. It is also shown that allotropic change appears more clearly in C-p and gamma(p) rather than potential energy. However, determining accurate C-p requires enough sampling to be averaged. Finally, a few issues in the current methods for determining gamma(p) were discussed and a simple method based on available models was proposed which, independent of estimation of the surface area, predicts the correct temperature and size-dependent trend in agreement with Guggenheim- Katayama and Tolman's models, respectively.

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