Breakup of universality in the generalized spinodal nucleation theory

Cyrill B. Muratov, Eric Vanden-Eijnden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The problem of nucleation near spinodal is revisited. It is shown that the standard scaling argument due to Unger and Klein [Phys. Rev. B 29:2698-2708 (1984)] based on neglecting all but the first two terms of the Taylor expansion of the potential in the free energy functional is only valid below critical dimension. At critical dimension, the nucleating droplet has a bigger amplitude and a smaller spatial extent than predicted by the standard scaling argument. In this case the structure of the droplet is determined in a nontrivial fashion by the next order term in the expansion of the potential. Above critical dimension, the amplitude of the nucleating droplet turns out to be too big to justify expanding the potential in Taylor series, and no universality is to be expected in the shape and size of the droplet. Both at and above critical dimension, however, the free energy barrier remains finite, which indicates that the nucleation rate does not vanish at spinodal as predicted by the standard scaling argument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-623
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Statistical Physics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Critical droplet
  • Matched asymptotics
  • Non-classical nucleation
  • Scaling
  • Spinodal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Breakup of universality in the generalized spinodal nucleation theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this