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Isotropic-polar phase transition in an amphiphilic fluid

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The Mathematics of Liquid Crystals

We present Monte Carlo simulations of the isotropic-polar (IP) phase transition in an am-phiphilic fluid carried out in the isothermal-isobaric ensemble. Our model consists of Lennard-Jones spheres where the attractive part of the potential is modified by an orientation-dependent function. This function gives rise to an angle dependence of the intermolecular attractions corresponding to that characteristic of point dipoles. Our data show a substantial system-size dependence of the dipolar order parameter. We analyze the system-size de-pendence in terms of the order-parameter distribution and a cumulant involving its first and second moments. The order parameter, its distribution, and susceptibility observe the scaling behavior characteristic of the classical 3D-Heisenberg universality class. Because of this scaling behavior and because all cumulants have a common intersection irrespective of sys-tem size we conclude that the IP phase transition is continuous. Considering pre ssures 1.3≤ P≤3.0 we demonstrate that a line of continuous phase transition exists which is analogous to the Curie line in systems exhibiting a ferroelectric transition. Our results are can be explained semi-quantitatively by a simple mean-field theory adapted from the theory of IP phase transi-tions in fluids in which molecules carry an electromagnetic point dipole.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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