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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Jun 25;92(25 Pt 1):255509. Epub 2004 Jun 25.

Homogeneous crystallization of poly(ethylene oxide) confined to droplets: the dependence of the crystal nucleation rate on length scale and temperature.

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Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4M1.


We present a study of homogeneous nucleation in polymer crystallization. Crystal nucleation is observed within discrete droplets of poly(ethylene oxide) that are formed by the dewetting of a thin film. The samples provide an ensemble of impurity-free droplets, with length scales that can easily be measured. Droplet crystallization is found in two distinct temperature regimes corresponding to homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation. Here we focus on homogeneous nucleation and show that the nucleation rate scales with the volume of the crystallizable domain, indicating that we are observing homogeneous nucleation in the bulk of the droplets. In addition, the dependence of the nucleation rate on temperature is consistent with classical nucleation theory.

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