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Issue 14, 2009
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The zero-temperature phase diagram of soft-repulsive particle fluids

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Effective pair interactions with a soft-repulsive component are a well-known feature of polymer solutions and colloidal suspensions, but they also provide a key to interpret the high-pressure behaviour of simple elements. We have computed the zero-temperature phase diagram of four different model potentials with various degrees of core softness. Among the reviewed crystal structures, there are also a number of non-Bravais lattices, chosen among those observed in real systems. Some of these crystals are indeed found to be stable for the selected potentials. We recognize an apparently universal trend for unbounded potentials, going from high- to low-coordinated crystal phases and back upon increasing the pressure. Conversely, a bounded repulsion may lead to intermittent appearance of compact structures with compression and no eventual settling down in a specific phase. In both cases, the fluid phase repeatedly reenters at intermediate pressures, as suggested by a cell-theory treatment of the solids. These findings are of relevance for soft matter in general, but they also offer fresh insight into the mechanisms subtended to solid polymorphism in elemental substances. PACS numbers: 61.50.Ks, 61.66.Bi, 62.50.-p, 64.70.K-

Graphical abstract: The zero-temperature phase diagram of soft-repulsive particle fluids

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The article was received on 25 Feb 2009, accepted on 15 Apr 2009 and first published on 27 May 2009

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B903931G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2009,5, 2795-2803
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    The zero-temperature phase diagram of soft-repulsive particle fluids

    S. Prestipino, F. Saija and G. Malescio, Soft Matter, 2009, 5, 2795
    DOI: 10.1039/B903931G

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