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Role of metastable states in phase ordering dynamics

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-600
Number of pages6
JournalEurophysics Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 1997


We show that the rate of separation of two phases of different densities (e.g. gas and solid) can be radically altered by the presence of a metastable intermediate phase (e.g. liquid). Within a Cahn-Hilliard theory we study the growth in one dimension of a solid droplet from a supersaturated gas. A moving interface between solid and gas phases (say) can, for sufficient (transient) supersaturation, unbind into two interfaces separated by a slab of metastable liquid phase. We investigate the criteria for unbinding, and show that it may strongly impede the growth of the solid phase.

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