We present a computational study of the thermodynamic, dynamic, and structural properties of free-standing thin films, investigated via molecular dynamics simulation of a glass-forming binary Lennard-Jones mixture. An energy landscape analysis is also performed to study glassy states. At equilibrium, species segregation occurs, with the smaller minority component preferentially excluded from the surface. The films interior density and interface width depend solely on temperature and not the initialization density. The atoms at the surface of the film have a higher lateral diffusivity when compared to the interior. The average difference between the equilibrium and inherent structure energies assigned to individual particles, as a function of the distance from the center of the film, increases near the surface. A minimum of this difference occurs in the region just under the liquid-vapor interface. This suggests that the surface atoms are able to sample the underlying energy landscape more effectively than those in the interior, and we suggest a possible relationship of this observation to the recently reported formation of stable glasses by vapor phase deposition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry