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Rethinking the application of the first nucleation theorem to particle formation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Chemical Physics, ISSN 0021-9606, E-ISSN 1089-7690, Vol. 136, no 9, 094107- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The critical cluster is the threshold size above which a cluster will be more likely to grow than to evaporate. In field and laboratory measurements of new particle formation, the number of molecules of a given species in the critical cluster is commonly taken to be the slope of the log-log plot of the formation rate versus the concentration of the species. This analysis is based on an approximate form of the first nucleation theorem, which is derived with the assumption that there are no minima in the free energy surface prior to the maximum at the critical size. However, many atmospherically relevant systems are likely to exhibit such minima, for example, ions surrounded by condensable vapour molecules or certain combinations of acids and bases. We have solved numerically the birth-death equations for both an electrically neutral one-component model system with a local minimum at pre-critical sizes and an ion-induced case. For the ion-induced case, it is verified that the log-log slope of the nucleation rate versus particle concentration plot gives accurately the difference between the cluster sizes at the free energy maximum and minimum, as is expected from the classical form of the ion-induced nucleation rate. However, the results show that applying the nucleation theorem to neutral systems with stable pre-nucleation clusters may lead to erroneous interpretations about the nature of the critical cluster. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. []

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 136, no 9, 094107- p.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76142DOI: 10.1063/1.3689227ISI: 000301664200009OAI: diva2:526093
6Available from: 2012-05-10 Created: 2012-05-09 Last updated: 2012-05-10Bibliographically approved

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Julin, Jan
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