Structural difference between liquidlike and gaslike phases in supercritical fluid

Takashi Sato, Masaaki Sugiyama, Keiji Itoh, Kazuhiro Mori, Toshiharu Fukunaga, Masakatsu Misawa, Toshiya Otomo, Shinichi Takata

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Density fluctuation structures of supercritical carbon dioxide along the isothermal and isochoric lines were observed with small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). All the scattering intensities in the low- Q range were well described with the Ornstein-Zernike (OZ) equation. It was confirmed that there exists a locus where the OZ correlation length and scattering intensity at Q=0 exhibit extrema on the isothermal lines: this locus, named the ridge, was interpreted as the boundary by which the supercritical state is divided into liquidlike and gaslike phases. In order to clarify the difference of the fluctuation structure between the liquidlike and the gaslike phases, a real-space molecular distribution was obtained with a reverse Monte Carlo (RMC) method. Number density distributions of C O2 molecules at all measured states were calculated with the real-space molecular distributions obtained. In addition, the statistical parameters of the number density distributions, the standard deviations, and the skewnesses, were examined. The standard deviations of the number density distributions almost coincide with the results of the OZ analysis. On the other hand, the skewnesses, which describe the asymmetric nature of the number density distribution, clearly showed a difference between the two phases: the skewness became negative in the liquidlike phase, positive in the gaslike phase, and almost zero at the nearest state to the ridge in all isotherms. It was proved with simple equations of statistical mechanics that the skewness is described as the first differential of the magnitude of the density fluctuation with respect to the pressure. We conclude that the skewness, obtained with a RMC analysis for SANS data, is an important structural parameter distinguishing between the liquidlike and gaslike phases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number051503
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 6 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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