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Issue 19, 2009
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Mesophases of soft-sphere aggregates

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Soft spheres interacting via a hard core and a range of attractive and repulsive ‘soft-shoulder’ potentials self-assemble into clusters forming a variety of mesophases. We combine a mean-field theory developed from a lattice model with a level surface analysis of the periodic structures of soft-sphere aggregates to study stable morphologies for all clustering potentials. We develop a systematic approach to the thermodynamics of mesophase assembly in the low-temperature, strong-segregation and predict a generic sequence of phases including lamella, hexagonal-columnar and body-center cubic phases, as well as the associated inverse structures. We discuss the finite temperature corrections to strong segregation theory in terms of Sommerfeld-like expansion and how these corrections affect the thermodynamic stability of bicontinuous mesophase structures, such as gyroid. Finally, we explore the opposite limit of weakly-segregated particles, and predict the generic stability of a bicontinuous cluster morphology within the mean-field phase diagram.

Graphical abstract: Mesophases of soft-sphere aggregates

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Feb 2009, accepted on 09 Jun 2009 and first published on 14 Jul 2009

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B904103F
Soft Matter, 2009,5, 3629-3638

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    Mesophases of soft-sphere aggregates

    H. Shin, G. M. Grason and C. D. Santangelo, Soft Matter, 2009, 5, 3629
    DOI: 10.1039/B904103F

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