Enhanced sampling of cylindrical microphase separation via shell-averaged bond-orientational order parameter
The formation of a hexagonal phase from disordered phase is one of the typical order-disorder transitions (ODT) observed in asymmetric diblock copolymer systems. In order to drive this transition in a particle-based simulation, we introduce a shell-based bond-orientational order parameter that selectively responds to the mesoscopic order of the hexagonal cylinder phase. From metadynamics simulations in a bond-free particle model system, the characteristic pathway involved with the underlying free energy surface is deduced for the disordered-to-hexagonal transition. It is shown consecutively that the transition pathway and the metastable state are reproduced in dissipative particle dynamics simulations for the corresponding transition in bulk asymmetric block copolymer melt system. These agreements suggest that efficient strategies for enhanced sampling with particle-based simulations of block copolymer systems can be devised using coarse-grained pictures of the mesoscopic order.