Phase diagram for two-dimensional layer of soft particles†
The phase diagram of a monolayer of soft particles described by the Daoud–Cotton model for star polymers is presented. Ground state calculations and grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations are used to determine the phase behavior as a function of the number of arms on the star and the areal coverage of the soft particles. The phase diagram exhibits rich behavior including reentrant melting and freezing and solid–solid transitions with triangular, stripe, honeycomb and kagome phases. These structures in 2D are analogous to the structures observed in 3D. The evolution of the structure factor with density is qualitatively similar to that measured in experiments for polymer grafted nanocrystals [Chen et al., Macromolecules, 2017, 50, 9636].