Volume 126, Number 4, May 2019
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties|
|Published online||27 June 2019|
Energy landscape description of the clustering transition for active soft spheres
1 Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU) - Corrensstr. 28/30, 48149 Münster, Germany
2 Institut für Theoretische Physik I, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) - Staudtstraße 7, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
Received: 18 December 2018
Accepted: 19 May 2019
For a system consisting of active soft spheres in three dimensions, we study the transition from a fluid where overlaps between particles can only occur for a short time after a collision to a state where clusters of overlapping particles persist for a long time. In order to determine the properties of the transition, we explore the energy landscape of the system in a similar way as is done for the determination of the athermal or thermal jamming transition. Note that for zero temperature the competition of particles that attach to existing clusters and particles that detach due to thermal effects does not arise. Therefore, here we do not study such a competition because we consider systems at small or zero energy. Instead, we explore at which packing fractions and what activities cluster formation can occur at all. In case of an athermal system the transition between systems where no clusters develop at all and systems where stable clusters are found is a first-order transition for packing fractions below 0.55 while the transition is continuous in case of larger packing fractions. In case of thermal systems the transition is continuous everywhere. While our approach does not deal with the real dynamics of the system, it reveals the nature of the clustering transition and it enables a deeper insight in the consequences of thermal fluctuations and the relation of the clustering transition to jamming. Though Brownian timescales diverge in athermal systems, the activity that we consider can be compared to the active velocity in other simulations if the latter is measured in units of the particle size divided by an elastic time scale.
PACS: 64.75.Gh – Phase separation and segregation in model systems (hard spheres, Lennard-Jones, etc.) / 82.70.Dd – Colloids / 47.57.eb – Diffusion and aggregation
© EPLA, 2019
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