The formation of microphases in systems of particles interacting by repulsive, bounded potentials is studied by means of density-functional theory (DFT) using a simple, mean-field-like form for the free energy which has already been proven accurate for this class of soft interactions. In an effort not to constrain the configurations available to the system, we do not make any assumption on the functional form of the density profile rho(r), save for its being periodic. We sample rho(r) at a large number of points in the unit cell and minimize the free energy with respect to both the values assumed by rho(r) at these points and the lattice vectors which identify the Bravais lattice. After checking the accuracy of the method by applying it to a one-component generalized exponential model (GEM) fluid with pair potential epsilon*exp[−(r/R)^4], for which extensive DFT and simulation results are already available, we turn to a binary mixture of Gaussian particles which some time ago was shown to support microphase formation [A. J. Archer, C. N. Likos, and R. Evans, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 16, L297 (2004)], but has not yet been investigated in detail. The phase diagram which we obtain, that supersedes the tentative one proposed by us in a former study [M. Carta, D. Pini, A. Parola, and L. Reatto, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 24, 284106 (2012)], displays cluster, tubular, and bicontinuous phases similar to those observed in block copolymers or oil/water/surfactant mixtures. Remarkably, bicontinuous phases occupy a rather large portion of the phase diagram. We also find two non-cubic phases, in both of which one species is preferentially located inside the channels left available by the other, forming helices of alternating chirality. The features of cluster formation in this mixture and in GEM potentials are also compared.
|Titolo:||An unconstrained DFT approach to microphase formation and application to binary Gaussian mixtures|
PINI, DAVIDE ENRICO (Primo)
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore FIS/03 - Fisica della Materia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||20-lug-2015|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1063/1.4926469|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|