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Rearranging Nanoclusters Using Randomness

• Physics 15, s83

Simulations recommend that thermal fluctuations mixed with macroscopic forces may very well be used to rapidly generate particular configurations of few-atom nanoclusters.

F. Boccardo and O. Pierre-Louis [1]

According to the infinite monkey theorem, a monkey randomly hitting the keys of a typewriter will finally write one thing price studying—nevertheless it would possibly take a number of trillion years of making an attempt. For these missing the persistence to attend, Francesco Boccardo and Olivier Pierre-Louis on the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France, now present that randomness can ship particular outcomes far more rapidly [1]. Simulating a 2D nanocluster of a dozen particles, the researchers decide the temperature at which thermal fluctuations can most rapidly rearrange these particles right into a predetermined form. They discover that this time will be dramatically reduce by making use of an acceptable macroscopic drive to the particles. The end result might result in environment friendly methods to manufacture elements for nanoscale gadgets.

In their mannequin, the particles—something from atoms to colloidal nanoparticles—occupy a sq. lattice. Adjacent particles bind collectively, however thermal fluctuations give these on the sting of the cluster an opportunity of hopping to a neighboring place at every simulated time step. That hopping permits the nanocluster to evolve iteratively towards a goal configuration. One would possibly anticipate the pace of this evolution to extend with the thermal-fluctuation fee—that’s, with temperature. But the researchers discover that sure compact shapes are achieved most rapidly at particular finite temperatures, above which the formation time rises.

The duo additionally simulated nanoclusters that have been topic to a macroscopic drive discipline, for instance, metallic nanoparticles in an electrical discipline. Like steering a marble by way of a tilting labyrinth, they discovered the optimum international drive to use at every iteration such that the nanocluster navigated the space of potential configurations a number of orders of magnitude extra rapidly. The researchers say that they hope to persuade an experimentalist to appreciate their methodology quickly.

–Marric Stephens

Marric Stephens is a Corresponding Editor for Physics Magazine based mostly in Bristol, UK.


  1. F. Boccardo and O. Pierre-Louis, “Controlling the shape of small clusters with and without macroscopic fields,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, 256102 (2022).

Subject Areas

Statistical PhysicsNanophysics

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