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J Chem Phys. 2014 Nov 7;141(17):174103. doi: 10.1063/1.4900574.

A multi-species exchange model for fully fluctuating polymer field theory simulations.

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Materials Research Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA.


Field-theoretic models have been used extensively to study the phase behavior of inhomogeneous polymer melts and solutions, both in self-consistent mean-field calculations and in numerical simulations of the full theory capturing composition fluctuations. The models commonly used can be grouped into two categories, namely, species models and exchange models. Species models involve integrations of functionals that explicitly depend on fields originating both from species density operators and their conjugate chemical potential fields. In contrast, exchange models retain only linear combinations of the chemical potential fields. In the two-component case, development of exchange models has been instrumental in enabling stable complex Langevin (CL) simulations of the full complex-valued theory. No comparable stable CL approach has yet been established for field theories of the species type. Here, we introduce an extension of the exchange model to an arbitrary number of components, namely, the multi-species exchange (MSE) model, which greatly expands the classes of soft material systems that can be accessed by the complex Langevin simulation technique. We demonstrate the stability and accuracy of the MSE-CL sampling approach using numerical simulations of triblock and tetrablock terpolymer melts, and tetrablock quaterpolymer melts. This method should enable studies of a wide range of fluctuation phenomena in multiblock/multi-species polymer blends and composites.


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