Dynamical properties of two- and three-dimensional colloidal clusters of six particles
Colloidal clusters are important systems for studying self-assembly. Clusters of six colloidal particles attracting each other via short-ranged interactions have been recently studied both theoretically and experimentally. Here we present a computer modelling study of the thermodynamics and dynamics of these clusters using a short-ranged Morse potential in two and three dimensions. We combine energy landscape methods with comprehensive sampling, both of configurations using Markov chain Monte Carlo and also of trajectories using Langevin molecular dynamics propagation. We show that the interaction energies between the particles are probably greater than previously assumed. The rates predicted by transition state theory using harmonic vibrational densities of states are off by four orders of magnitude, since the effects of viscosity are not accounted for. In contrast, sampling short trajectories using an appropriate friction constant and discrete relaxation path sampling produces reasonable agreement with the experimental rates.