Molecular dynamics simulation of charged colloids confined between hard walls: pre-melting and pre-freezing across the BCC–fluid coexistence
Molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulations are used to study the structure of hard-core Yukawa systems confined between two parallel hard walls. States around the coexistence between a fluid and a body-centered cubic (BCC) crystal are considered. In all cases a pronounced layering in the vicinity of the walls is observed. Using a thermodynamic integration scheme, we determine the wall–fluid interfacial free energy γ which is negative and monotonically decreasing with increasing bulk density of the fluid. In the case of the fluid, the layers next to the walls undergo a transition from a fluid to a hexagonal structure. This pre-freezing transition occurs well below the coexistence bulk density of the fluid. The confined BCC crystal in (111) orientation shows melted regions between crystalline face-centered cubic (FCC) layers close to the wall and the BCC bulk region.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Electrostatics and Soft Matter