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We report a numerical study on the phase behaviour of a ‘patch–anti-patch’ model for particles with tetrahedrally arranged attractive spots. In particular, we compute the phase equilibria between the fluid and a low density diamond cubic (DC) crystal for different realizations of the patch–anti-patch interaction. By increasing the ‘specificity’ of the patches, i.e. lowering the number of corresponding attractive ‘anti-patches’ to a given patch, we find that the metastability gap between the DC freezing boundary and the liquid–gas critical point widens considerably. We argue that this effect of interaction specificity is relevant for the description of protein phase diagrams, as patch–anti-patch interactions can stabilise relatively open, ordered structures.
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