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Phase behavior of the hard-sphere Maier-Saupe fluid under spatial confinement

AutorAlmarza, Noé G. ; Martín, C. ; Lomba, Enrique
Palabras claveMonte Carlo
Liquid Crystals
Fecha de publicación3-sep-2009
EditorAmerican Physical Society
CitaciónPhys. Rev. E 80, 031501 (2009)
ResumenThe Maier-Saupe hard-sphere fluid is one of the simplest models that accounts for the isotropic-nematic transition characteristic of liquid crystal phases. At low temperatures the model is known to present a gas-liquid-like transition with a large difference between the densities of the coexistence phases, whereas at higher temperature the transition becomes a weak first-order transition resembling the typical order-disorder (nematic-isotropic) phase change of liquid crystals. Spatial dimensionality directly conditions the character of the orientational phase change (i.e., the high temperature transition), that goes from a first-order transition in the purely three-dimensional case, to a Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless-like continuous transition which occurs when the three dimensional Maier-Saupe spins are constrained to lie on a plane. In the latter instance, the ordered phase is not endowed with true long-range order. In this work we investigate how the continuous transition transforms into a true first-order phase change, by analyzing the phase behavior of a system of three dimensional Maier-Saupe hard spheres confined between two parallel plates, with separations ranging from the quasi-two-dimensional regime to the bulk three-dimensional limit. Our results indicate that spatial confinement in one direction induces the change from first order to a continuous transition with a corresponding decrease of the transition temperatures. As to the gas-liquid transition, the estimated “critical” temperatures and densities also decrease as the fluid is confined, in agreement with previous results for other simple systems.
Versión del editorhttp://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevE.80.031501
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