We investigate the energetics of structural fluctuations in small particles, a phenomenon recently observed by high resolution electron microscopy. Using a continuum model with anisotropic surface energies and isotropic inhomogeneous elasticity, we estimate the activation energy for these transformations. The results indicate that the primary cause of the structural fluctuations is the reduction of the surface energy anisotropy as the temperature is raised, either the thermal or electronic temperature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics