Three-Dimensional Structure of a Simple Liquid at a Face-Centered-Cubic (001) Solid Surface Interface
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A liquid in the vicinity of a solid-liquid interface (SLI) may exhibit complex structures. In this study, we used molecular dynamics simulations demonstrating for the first time that the liquid adjacent to the SLI can have a two-level structure in some cases: a major structure and a minor structure. Through a time-averaging process of molecular motions, we identified the type of the liquid structure by calculating positions of the maximum liquid density in three spatial dimensions, and these positions were found to distribute in many dispersed zones (called high-density zones (HDZs)). The major structure appears throughout the SLI, while the minor structure only occurs significantly within the third layer. Instead of the previously reported body-centered cubic (BCC) or face-centered-cubic (FCC) types, the major structure was found to show a body-centered tetragonal (BCT) type. The adjacent HDZs are connected by specific junctions, demonstrating that atoms diffuse along some particular high probability paths from one HDZ to another. By considering the three-dimensional liquid density distribution from the continuum point of view, more complete details of the structure and diffusive behavior of liquids in the SLI are also possible to be revealed.