Recent developments allow heat capacities to be measured for size-selected clusters isolated in the gas phase. For clusters with tens to hundreds of atoms, the heat capacities determined as a function of temperature usually have a single peak attributed to a melting transition. The melting temperatures and latent heats show large size-dependent fluctuations. In some cases, the melting temperatures change by hundreds of degrees with the addition of a single atom. Theory has played a critical role in understanding the origin of the size-dependent fluctuations, and in understanding the properties of the liquid-like and solid-like states. In some cases, the heat capacities have extra features (an additional peak or a dip) that reveal a more complex behavior than simple melting. In this article we provide a description of the methods used to measure the heat capacities and provide an overview of the experimental and theoretical results obtained for sodium and aluminum clusters.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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