Theory for the phase behaviour of a colloidal fluid with competing interactions
journal contributionposted on 07.10.2014, 14:18 authored by Andrew ArcherAndrew Archer, C. Ionescu, D. Pini, L. Reatto
We study the phase behaviour of a fluid composed of particles which interact via a pair potential that is repulsive for large inter-particle distances, is attractive at intermediate distances and is strongly repulsive at short distances (the particles have a hard core). As well as exhibiting gas–liquid phase separation, this system also exhibits phase transitions from the uniform fluid phases to modulated inhomogeneous fluid phases. Starting from a microscopic density functional theory, we develop an order parameter theory for the phase transition in order to examine in detail the phase behaviour. The amplitude of the density modulations is the order parameter in our theory. The theory predicts that the phase transition from the uniform to the modulated fluid phase can be either first order or second order (continuous). The phase diagram exhibits two tricritical points, joined to each other by the line of second order transitions.
A.J.A. is grateful for the support of RCUK and C. I., D. P., and L. R. acknowledge support from the European Union, Contract No. MRTN-CT2003-504712.
- Mathematical Sciences