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Issue 43, 2018
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Formation of cluster crystals in an ultra-soft potential model on a spherical surface

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Abstract

We investigate the formation of cluster crystals with multiply occupied lattice sites on a spherical surface in systems of ultra-soft particles interacting via repulsive, bounded pair potentials. Not all interactions of this kind lead to clustering: we generalize the criterion devised in C. N. Likos et al., Phys. Rev. E, 2001, 63, 031206 to spherical systems in order to distinguish between cluster-forming systems and fluids which display reentrant melting. We use both DFT and Monte Carlo simulations to characterize the behavior of the system, and obtain semi-quantitative agreement between the two. We find that the number of clusters is determined by the ratio between the size σ of the ultra-soft particles and the radius R of the sphere in such a way that each stable configuration spans a certain interval of σ/R. Furthermore, we study the effect of topological frustration on the system due to the sphere curvature by comparing the properties of disclinations, i.e., clusters with fewer than six neighbors, and non-defective clusters. Disclinations are shown to be less stable, contain fewer particles, and be closer to their neighbors than other lattice points: these properties are explained on the basis of geometric and energetic considerations.

Graphical abstract: Formation of cluster crystals in an ultra-soft potential model on a spherical surface

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 May 2018, accepted on 15 Oct 2018 and first published on 16 Oct 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00997J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 8724-8739
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    Formation of cluster crystals in an ultra-soft potential model on a spherical surface

    S. Franzini, L. Reatto and D. Pini, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 8724
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00997J

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