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Inherent structures of phase-separating binary mixtures: Nucleation, spinodal decomposition, and pattern formation

Sarkar, Sarmistha and Bagchi, Biman (2011) Inherent structures of phase-separating binary mixtures: Nucleation, spinodal decomposition, and pattern formation. In: Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics, 83 (3, Par).

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Official URL: http://pre.aps.org/abstract/PRE/v83/i3/e031506


An energy landscape view of phase separation and nonideality in binary mixtures is developed by exploring their potential energy landscape (PEL) as functions of temperature and composition. We employ molecular dynamics simulations to study a model that promotes structure breaking in the solute-solvent parent binary liquid, at low temperatures. The PEL of the system captures the potential energy distribution of the inherent structures (IS) of the system and is obtained by removing the kinetic energy (including that of intermolecular vibrations). The broader distribution of the inherent structure energy for structure breaking liquid than that of the structure making liquid demonstrates the larger role of entropy in stabilizing the parent liquid of the structure breaking type of binary mixtures. At high temperature, although the parent structure of the structure breaking binary mixture is homogenous, the corresponding inherent structure is found to be always phase separated, with a density pattern that exhibits marked correlation with the energy of its inherent structure. Over a broad range of intermediate inherent structure energy, bicontinuous phase separation prevails with interpenetrating stripes as signatures of spinodal decomposition. At low inherent structure energy, the structure is largely phase separated with one interface where as at high inherent structure energy we find nucleation type growth. Interestingly, at low temperature, the average inherent structure energy (< EIS >) exhibits a drop with temperature which signals the onset of crystallization in one of the phases while the other remains in the liquid state. The nonideal composition dependence of viscosity is anticorrelated with average inherent structure energy.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to The American Physical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2011 05:26
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2011 05:26
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/36942

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