Anomalous properties and the liquid-liquid phase transition in gallium

RZ Li and G Sun and LM Xu, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 145, 054506 (2016).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4959891

A group of materials including water and silicon exhibit many anomalous behaviors, e. g., density anomaly and diffusivity anomaly ( increase upon compression). These materials are hypothesized to have a liquid- liquid phase transition ( LLPT) and the critical fluctuation in the vicinity of the liquid-liquid critical point is considered as the origin of different anomalies. Liquid gallium was also reported to have a LLPT, yet whether it shows similar water-like anomalies is not yet studied. Using molecular dynamics simulations on a modified embedded-atom model, we study the thermodynamic, dynamic, and structural properties of liquid gallium as well as its LLPT. We find that, similar to waterlike materials predicted to have the LLPT, gallium also shows different anomalous behaviors ( e. g., density anomaly, diffusivity anomaly, and structural anomaly). We also find that its thermodynamic and structural response functions are continuous and show maxima in the supercritical region, the loci of which asymptotically approach to the other and merge to the Widom line. These phenomena are consistent with the supercritical phenomenon in a category of materials with a liquid-liquid critical point, which could be common features in most materials with a LLPT. Published by AIP Publishing.

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