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Phys Rev Lett. 2000 Sep 11;85(11):2336-9.

Experimental evidence for crossover to mean-field tricritical behavior in a concentrated salt solution

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  • 1Institute for Physical Science and Technology and Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


We have discovered a mean-field multicritical point on the critical locus in an aqueous solution of 3-methylpyridine and sodium bromide. Light-scattering measurements indicate Ising-like asymptotic critical behavior at the lower salt concentrations. However, the temperature range of Ising critical behavior shrinks with increasing salt concentration and the critical behavior becomes mean-field-like at a concentration of about 17% mass fraction of NaBr. Emergence of a new characteristic length scale diverging at this point and a simultaneous pronounced increase in the background scattering suggests mean-field tricritical behavior associated with the formation of a microheterogeneous phase due to clustering of ions and molecules.

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