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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2007 Jun;75(6 Pt 1):061403. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Phase separation of charge-stabilized colloids: a Gibbs ensemble Monte Carlo simulation study.

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  • 1Department of Physics, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58105-5566, USA.


The fluid phase behavior of charge-stabilized colloidal suspensions is explored by applying a variant of the Gibbs ensemble Monte Carlo simulation method to a coarse-grained one-component model with implicit microions and solvent. The simulations take as input linear-response approximations for the effective electrostatic interactions--a hard-sphere-Yukawa pair potential and a one-body volume energy. The conventional Gibbs ensemble trial moves are supplemented by exchange of (implicit) salt between coexisting phases, with acceptance probabilities influenced by the state dependence of the effective interactions. Compared with large-scale simulations of the primitive model, with explicit microions, our computationally practical simulations of the one-component model closely match the pressures and pair distribution functions at moderate electrostatic couplings. For macroion valences and couplings within the linear-response regime, deionized aqueous suspensions with monovalent microions exhibit separation into macroion-rich and macroion-poor fluid phases below a critical salt concentration. The resulting pressures and phase diagrams are in excellent agreement with predictions of a variational free energy theory based on the same model.

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