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Issue 24, 2016
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Nucleation pathway and kinetics of phase-separating active Brownian particles

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Abstract

Suspensions of purely repulsive but self-propelled Brownian particles might undergo phase separation, a phenomenon that strongly resembles the phase separation of passive particles with attractions. Here we employ computer simulations to study the nucleation kinetics and the microscopic pathway active Brownian disks take in two dimensions when quenched from the homogeneous suspension to propulsion speeds beyond the binodal. We find the same qualitative behavior for the nucleation rate as a function of density as for a passive suspension undergoing liquid–vapor separation, suggesting that the scenario of an effective free energy also extends to the kinetics of phase separation. We study the transition in more detail through a committor analysis and find that transition states are best described by a combination of cluster size and the radial polarization of particles in the cluster.

Graphical abstract: Nucleation pathway and kinetics of phase-separating active Brownian particles

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Article information


Submitted
24 Feb 2016
Accepted
19 Apr 2016
First published
19 Apr 2016

Soft Matter, 2016,12, 5257-5264
Article type
Paper

Nucleation pathway and kinetics of phase-separating active Brownian particles

D. Richard, H. Löwen and T. Speck, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 5257
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM00485G

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