Two-dimensional fluid with competing interactions exhibiting microphase separation: Theory for bulk and interfacial properties

2014-10-03T09:07:57Z (GMT) by Andrew Archer
Colloidal particles that are confined to an interface such as the air-water interface are an example of a two-dimensional fluid. Such dispersions have been observed to spontaneously form cluster and stripe morphologies in certain systems with isotropic pair potentials between the particles, due to the fact that the pair interaction between the colloids has competing attraction and repulsion over different length scales. Here we present a simple density functional theory for a model of such a two-dimensional fluid. The theory predicts a bulk phase diagram exhibiting cluster, stripe, and bubble modulated phases, in addition to homogeneous fluid phases. Comparing with simulation results for this model from the literature, we find that the theory is qualitatively reliable. The model allows for a detailed investigation of the structure of the fluid and we are able to obtain simple approximate expressions for the static structure factor and for the length scale characterizing the modulations in the microphase separated phases. We also investigate the behavior of the system under confinement between two parallel hard walls. We find that the confined fluid phase behavior can be rather complex.