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Mol Phys. 2012;110(11-12):1057-1067. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

A hybrid formalism combining fluctuating hydrodynamics and generalized Langevin dynamics for the simulation of nanoparticle thermal motion in an incompressible fluid medium.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


A novel hybrid scheme based on Markovian fluctuating hydrodynamics of the fluid and a non-Markovian Langevin dynamics with the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck noise perturbing the translational and rotational equations of motion of the nanoparticle is employed to study the thermal motion of a nanoparticle in an incompressible Newtonian fluid medium. A direct numerical simulation adopting an arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) based finite element method (FEM) is employed in simulating the thermal motion of a particle suspended in the fluid confined in a cylindrical vessel. The results for thermal equilibrium between the particle and the fluid are validated by comparing the numerically predicted temperature of the nanoparticle with that obtained from the equipartition theorem. The nature of the hydrodynamic interactions is verified by comparing the velocity autocorrelation function (VACF) and mean squared displacement (MSD) with well-known analytical results. For nanoparticle motion in an incompressible fluid, the fluctuating hydrodynamics approach resolves the hydrodynamics correctly but does not impose the correct equipartition of energy based on the nanoparticle mass because of the added mass of the displaced fluid. In contrast, the Langevin approach with an appropriate memory is able to show the correct equipartition of energy, but not the correct short- and long-time hydrodynamic correlations. Using our hybrid approach presented here, we show for the first time, that we can simultaneously satisfy the equipartition theorem and the (short- and long-time) hydrodynamic correlations. In effect, this results in a thermostat that also simultaneously preserves the true hydrodynamic correlations. The significance of this result is that our new algorithm provides a robust computational approach to explore nanoparticle motion in arbitrary geometries and flow fields, while simultaneously enabling us to study carrier adhesion mediated by biological reactions (receptor-ligand interactions) at the vessel wall at a specified finite temperature.

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