- Phase diagram of Hertzian spheres
- Journal of Chemical Physics
- Volume | Issue number
- 131 | 4
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)
We report the phase diagram of interpenetrating Hertzian spheres. The Hertz potential is purely repulsive, bounded at zero separation, and decreases monotonically as a power law with exponent 5/2, vanishing at the overlapping threshold. This simple functional describes the elastic interaction of weakly deformable bodies and, therefore, it is a reliable physical model of soft macromolecules, like star polymers and globular micelles. Using thermodynamic integration and extensive Monte Carlo simulations, we computed accurate free energies of the fluid phase and a large number of crystal structures. For this, we defined a general primitive unit cell that allows for the simulation of any lattice. We found multiple re-entrant melting and first-order transitions between crystals with cubic, trigonal, tetragonal, and hexagonal symmetries.
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