Phase-change switching in 2D via soft interactions
We present a new type of phase-change behavior relevant for information storage applications, that can be observed in 2D systems with cluster-forming ability. The temperature-based control of the ordering in 2D particle systems depends on the existence of a crystal-to-glass transition. We perform molecular dynamics simulations of models with soft interactions, demonstrating that the crystalline and amorphous structures can be easily tuned by heat pulses. The physical mechanism responsible for this behavior is a self-assembled polydispersity, that depends on the cluster-forming ability of the interactions. Therefore, the range of real materials that can perform such a transition is very wide in nature, ranging from colloidal suspensions to vortex matter. The state of the art in soft matter experimental setups, controlling interactions, polydispersity and dimensionality, makes it a very fertile ground for practical applications.