On the nature of finite-size corrections in the determination of interfacial tension

The interfacial tension between coexisting phases of a material (e.g. fluid, solid or gas phases) is an important parameter in the description of many phenomena such as nucleation of water droplets in the atmosphere, crystallization of proteins, and the growth and stability of nanocrystals. This quantity is not only difficult to determine experimentally, but reliable theoretical descriptions are often lacking as well. Therefore, it is very important to develop dependable computer simulation methods.

A team from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Germany) has studied logarithmic corrections in the determination of interfacial tension [1]. They have identified several novel contributions which not only depend on the ensemble, but also on the type of the applied boundary conditions. In the future, these results will contribute to the understanding and determination of highly accurate interfacial properties with computer simulations.

[1] F. Schmitz, P. Virnau, and K. Binder, Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 125701 (2014)