We use both mean-field methods and numerical simulation to study the phase diagram of classical particles interacting with a hard core and repulsive, soft shoulder. Despite the purely repulsive and isotropic interaction, this system displays a remarkable array of aggregate phases arising from the competition between the hard-core and soft-shoulder length scales, including fluid and crystalline phases with micellar, lamellar, and inverse micellar morphology. In the limit of large shoulder width to core size, we argue that this phase diagram has a number of universal features, and classify the set of repulsive shoulders that lead to aggregation at high density. Surprisingly, the phase sequence and aggregate size adjust so as to keep almost constant inter-aggregate separation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)