Physics - Soft Condensed Matter Publications (50)

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Physics - Soft Condensed Matter Publications

Energy dissipation in sheared dry and wet granulates is explored experimentally and computationally as a function of confining pressure $P_{\rm cf}$. For vanishing confining pressure, $P_{\rm cf} \rightarrow 0$, the energy dissipation fades in the case of dry granulates. In the case of wet granulates, a finite energy dissipation for $P_{\rm cf} \rightarrow 0$ is observed and explained quantitatively by a combination of two effects related to capillary forces: frictional resistance of the granulate in presence of an internal cohesion by virtue of attractive capillary forces and energy dissipation due to the rupture and reformation of liquid bridges. Read More


There is a long-standing experimental observation that the melting of topologically constrained DNA, such as circular-closed plasmids, is less abrupt than that of linear molecules. This finding points to an intriguing role of topology in the physics of DNA denaturation, which is however poorly understood. Here, we shed light on this issue by combining large-scale Brownian Dynamics simulations with an analytically solvable phenomenological Landau mean field theory. Read More


Colloidal systems offer unique opportunities for the study of phase formation and structure since their characteristic length scales are accessible to visible light. As a model system the two dimensional assembly of colloidal magnetic and non-magnetic particles dispersed in a ferrofluid (FF) matrix is studied by transmission optical microscopy. We present a method to statistically evaluate images with thousands of particles and map phases by extraction of local variables. Read More


We present a nonlocal electrostatic formulation of nonuniform ions and water molecules with interstitial voids that uses a Fermi-like distribution to account for steric and correlation effects in electrolyte solutions. The formulation is based on the volume exclusion of hard spheres leading to a steric potential and Maxwell's displacement field with Yukawa-type interactions resulting in a nonlocal electric potential. The classical Poisson-Boltzmann model fails to describe steric and correlation effects important in a variety of chemical and biological systems, especially in high field or large concentration conditions found in and near binding sites, ion channels, and electrodes. Read More


We show using molecular dynamics simulations that simple diatomic molecules in the glassy state exhibit only limited participation in the Johari-Goldstein (JG) relaxation process. That is, with sufficient cooling local reorientations are essentially frozen for some molecules, while others continue to change their orientation significantly. Thus, the "islands of mobility" concept is valid for these molecular glass-formers; only near the glass transition temperature does every molecule undergo the JG process. Read More


We demonstrate the realization of (laterally) optically bounded colloidal structures on a liquid-liquid interface of an emulsion droplet. We use DNA tethers to graft the particles to the droplet surface, effectively confining them to a quasi-2D plane with minimum constraints on the lateral movement even when optically trapped in a common single-beam configuration. We show that relatively weak interactions such as depletion can be measured in the optically bounded crystals by video-microscopy imaging and analysis. Read More


Window glass and sand piles are both amorphous solids; push them and they'll push back. The jamming transition that produces a rigid sand pile occurs on the zero temperature - or infinite pressure - line within the recently proposed glass transition phase diagram \cite{liu_nonlinear_1998, ikeda_unified_2012, charbonneau_jamming_2015}. However, even as these two transitions are controlled by the same underlying physics and share the same space of allowed configurations \cite{ohern_jamming_2003, ma_potential_2014}, the glass transition happens at a significantly lower density than the jamming transition \cite{berthier_glass_2009, charbonneau_glass_2011, charbonneau_dimensional_2012, charbonneau_universal_2016}. Read More


A resonant soft x-ray scattering (RSoXS) at the carbon K-edge is used to resolve the orientational ordering of molecules in liquid crystalline phases with no density modulation. We develop a theoretical model to find a spatial dependence of the scattered intensity as a function of the polarization of the incident x-ray beam and biaxiality of the structure. Based on the comparison of the RSoXS diffraction data and theoretical modelling we show: (i) polarization effects can be utilized for structure determination, (ii) RSoXS enhances the peaks allowed by the symmetry but not observed by elastic scattering due to a negligible density modulation and thus unmasks the structure of cubic phases, (iii) local biaxiality may be inferred from the diffraction pattern (iv) the twist-bend nematic phase is made of interlocked, mutually shifted helices. Read More


The study of fluctuation-induced transport is concerned with the directed motion of particles on a substrate when subjected to a fluctuating external field. Work over the last two decades provides now precise clues on how the average transport depends on three fundamental aspects: the shape of the substrate, the correlations of the fluctuations and the mass, geometry, interaction and density of the particles. These three aspects, reviewed here, acquire additional relevance because the same notions apply to a bewildering variety of problems at very different scales, from the small nano or micro-scale, where thermal fluctuations effects dominate, up to very large scales including ubiquitous cooperative phenomena in granular materials. Read More


Biological membranes are essential for the cell life and hydration water provides the driving force for their assembly and stability. Here we study the structural properties of water in a phospholipid membrane. We characterize local structures inspecting the intermediate range order (IRO) adopting a sensitive local order metric, recently proposed by Martelli et al. Read More


Recent experiments have highlighted the intrinsic magnetic anisotropy in coil-coil diblock copolymers, specifically in poly(styrene-b-4-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P4VP), that enables magnetic field alignment at field strengths of a few tesla. We consider here the alignment response of two low molecular weight (MW) lamallae-forming PS-b-P4VP systems. Cooling across the disorder-order transition temperature ($\mathrm{T_{odt}}$) results in strong alignment for the higher MW sample (5. Read More


The physical mechanism of the oriented shift and inverse of eccentric globules in a modest extensional flow are investigated in this paper. Through this work, a shift of the globule, which is driven mainly by the asymmetric interfacial curvature, not by the outer drag, is disclosed. The asymmetric layout of the daughter droplet leads to the asymmetric drags from the continuous phase and the asymmetric deformation of the globule with different interface curvatures. Read More


We designed spongy monoliths allowing liquid delivery to their surfaces through continuous nanopore systems (mean pore diameter ca. 40 nm). These nanoporous monoliths were flat or patterned with microspherical structures a few 10 microns in diameter, and their surfaces consisted of aprotic polymer or of TiO2 coatings. Read More


We describe a simple experiment involving spheres rolling down an inclined plane towards a bottleneck and through a gap. Results of the experiment indicate that flow rate can be increased by placing an obstruction at optimal positions near the bottleneck. We use the experiment to develop a computer simulation using the PhysX physics engine. Read More


We show how a gradient in the motility properties of non-interacting point-like active particles can cause a pressure gradient that pushes a large inert object. We calculate the force on an object inside a system of active particles with position dependent motion parameters, in one and two dimensions, and show that a modified Archimedes' principle is satisfied. We characterize the system, both in terms of the model parameters and in terms of experimentally measurable quantities: the spatial profiles of the density, velocity and pressure. Read More


Thanks to an expansion with respect to densities of energy, mass and entropy, we discuss the concept of thermocapillary fluid for inhomogeneous fluids. The non-convex state law valid for homogeneous fluids is modified by adding terms taking into account the gradients of these densities. This seems more realistic than Cahn and Hilliard's model which uses a density expansion in mass-density gradient only. Read More


Leibniz said "Naturam cognosci per analogiam": nature is understood by making analogies. This statement describes a seminal epistemological principle. But one has to be aware of its limitations: quantum mechanics for example at some point had to push Bohr's model of the atom aside to make progress. Read More


Though we have used glasses for thousands of years, the nature of glasses and the glass transition still remains mysterious. On approaching the glass transition, the increase of dynamic heterogeneity has long been thought to play a key role in explaining the abrupt dynamic slow-down with the structural relaxation time increasing by many orders of magnitude. However, it still remains elusive how the structural relaxation and dynamic heterogeneity are correlated and whether there is a universal link between them independent of systems. Read More


A heat exchange interface at subzero temperature in a water vapor environment, exhibits high probability of frost formation due to freezing condensation, a factor that markedly decreases the heat transfer efficacy due to the considerable thermal resistance of ice. Here we report a novel strategy to delay ice nucleation on these types of solid-water vapor interfaces. With a process-driven mechanism, a self-generated liquid intervening layer immiscible to water, is deposited on a textured superhydrophobic surface and acts as a barrier between the water vapor and the solid substrate. Read More


First principles molecular dynamics simulation protocol is established using revised functional of Perdew-Burke-Ernzerhof (revPBE) in conjunction with Grimme's third generation of dispersion (D3) correction to describe properties of water at ambient conditions. This study also demonstrates the consistency of the structure of water across both isobaric (NpT) and isothermal (NVT) ensembles. Going beyond the standard structural benchmarks for liquid water, we compute properties that are connected to both local structure and mass density uctuations that are related to concepts of solvation and hydrophobicity. Read More


We model an enclosed system of bacteria, whose motility-induced phase separation is coupled to slow population dynamics. Without noise, the system shows both static phase separation and a limit cycle, in which a rising global population causes a dense bacterial colony to form, which then declines by local cell death, before dispersing to re-initiate the cycle. Adding fluctuations, we find that static colonies are now metastable, moving between spatial locations via rare and strongly nonequilibrium pathways, whereas the limit cycle becomes quasi-periodic such that after each redispersion event the next colony forms in a random location. Read More


We report on a theoretical and experimental investigation of the normal contact of stretched neo-Hookean substrates with rigid spherical probes. Starting from a published formulation of surface Green's function for incremental displacements on a pre-stretched, neo-Hookean, substrate (L.H. Read More


We study the dynamical response to small distortions of a lattice about its uniform state, drifting through a dissipative medium due to an external force, and show, analytically and numerically, that the fluctuations, both transverse and longitudinal to the direction of the drift, exhibit spatiotemporal scaling belonging to the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang universality class. Further, we predict that a colloidal crystal drifting in a constant electric field is linearly stable against distortions and the distortions propagate as underdamped waves. Read More


We show that an electric field parallel to an electrically neutral surface can generate flow of electrolytic mixtures in small channels. We term this solvo-osmotic flow, since the flow is induced by the asymmetric preferential solvation of ions at the liquid-solid interface. The generated flow is comparable in magnitude to the ubiquitous electro-osmotic flow at charged surfaces, but for a fixed surface charge density, it differs qualitatively in its dependence on ionic strength. Read More


Stick-slip, manifest as intermittent tangential motion between two solids, is a well-known friction instability that occurs in a number of natural and engineering systems. In the context of adhesive polymer interfaces, this phenomenon has often been solely associated with Schallamach waves, which are termed slow waves due to their low propagation speeds. We study the dynamics of a model polymer interface using coupled force measurements and high speed \emph{in situ} imaging, to explore the occurrence of stick-slip linked to other slow wave phenomena. Read More


We investigate the dynamic behavior of long guest rod-like particles immersed in liquid crystalline phases formed by shorter host rods, tracking both guest and host particles by fluorescence microscopy. Counter-intuitively, we evidence that long rods diffuse faster than short rods forming the one-dimensional ordered smectic-A phase. This results from the larger and non-commensurate size of the guest particles as compared to the wavelength of the energy landscape set by the lamellar stack of liquid slabs. Read More


Foams made of complex fluids such as particle suspensions have a great potential for the development of advanced aerated materials. In this paper we study the rheological behavior of liquid foams loaded with granular suspensions. We focus on the effect of small particles, i. Read More


Within the shoving model of the glass transition, the relaxation time and the viscosity are related to the local cage rigidity. This approach can be extended down to the atomic-level in terms of the interatomic interaction, or potential of mean-force. We applied this approach to both real metallic glass-formers and model Lennard-Jones glasses. Read More


There is a growing interest since the 1990s to understand the squeezing and shear behaviors of liquid films at nanometer scale by the atomic force microscope (AFM) measurement. We carry out all-atom contact-mode AFM simulations in a liquid-vapor molecular dynamics ensemble to investigate the solvation force oscillation and squeeze out mechanisms of a confined linear dodecane fluid between a gold AFM tip and a mica substrate. Solvation force oscillations are found to be associated with the layering transition of liquid film and unstable jumps of AFM tip position. Read More


We have studied the quenched random disorder (QRD) effects created by aerosil dispersion in octylcyanobiphenyl (8CB) liquid crystal (LC) using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) technique. Gelation process in the 8CB+aerosil gels yields a QRD network which also changes the surface topography. By increasing the aerosil concentration, the original smooth pattern of LC sample surfaces is suppressed by creating a fractal aerosil surface effect, these surfaces become more porous, rougher with more and bigger crevices. Read More


We examine the spectral properties of single and multiple matter-wave dark solitons in Bose-Einstein condensates confined in parabolic traps, where the scattering length is periodically modulated. In addition to the large-density limit picture previously established for homogeneous nonlinearities, we explore a perturbative analysis in the vicinity of the linear limit, which provides good agreement with the observed spectral modes. Between these two analytically tractable limits, we use numerical computations to fill in the relevant intermediate regime. Read More


We study the compression and extension dynamics of a DNA-like polymer interacting with non-DNA binding and DNA-binding proteins, by means of computer simulations. The geometry we consider is inspired by recent experiments probing the compressional elasticity of the bacterial nucleoid (DNA plus associated proteins), where DNA is confined into a cylindrical container and subjected to the action of a "piston" - a spherical bead to which an external force is applied. We quantify the effect of steric interactions (excluded volume) on the force-extension curves as the polymer is compressed. Read More


The vortices that appear repeatedly and suggest turbulent dynamics are crucial to the understanding of sheared turbulence. These vortices produce order out of chaos, benefiting the turbulence modelling that focuses only on statistically stable quantities. In three dimensions, the hairpin vortices play such a fundamental role in the transport of momentum and energy for wall bounded sheared turbulence. Read More


In this note, we report about two, as it seems to us, rather unusual observations made in molecular dynamics simulations of the single component systems of particles interacting through the harmonic-repulsive pair potential in 3D. In particular, at some densities, we observed deeply supercooled liquid states which did not exhibit crystallization in rather long MD runs. This observation is unusual because usually liquids formed by particles of only one type rather readily crystallize on supercooling. Read More


Ionic liquids are promising candidates for electrolytes in energy-storage systems. We demonstrate that mixing two ionic liquids allows to precisely tune their physical properties, like the dc conductivity. Moreover, these mixtures enable the gradual modification of the fragility parameter, which is believed to be a measure of the complexity of the energy landscape in supercooled liquids. Read More


Suspensions of cornstarch in water exhibit strong dynamic shear-thickening. We show that partly replacing water by ethanol strongly alters the suspension rheology. We perform steady and non-steady rheology measurements combined with atomic force microscopy to investigate the role of fluid chemistry on the macroscopic rheology of the suspensions and its link with the interactions between cornstarch grains. Read More


Throughout biology, hierarchy is a recurrent theme in the geometry of structures where strength is achieved with minimal use of material. Acting over vast timescales, evolution has brought about beautiful solutions to problems of optimisation that are only now being understood and incorporated into engineering design. One particular example of this hierarchy is found in the junction between stiff keratinised material and the soft biological matter within the hooves of ungulates. Read More


The Gr\"uneisen relation is shown to be important for the thermodynamics of dense liquids. Read More


The dynamics of a dense binary mixture of soft dumbbells, each subject to an active propulsion force and thermal fluctuations, shows a sudden arrest, first to a translational then to a rotational glass, as one reduces temperature $T$ or the self-propulsion force $f$. Is the temperature-induced glass different from the activity-induced glass? To address this question, we monitor the dynamics along an iso-relaxation-time contour in the $(T-f)$ plane. We find dramatic differences both in the fragility and in the nature of dynamical heterogeneity which characterise the onset of glass formation - the activity-induced glass exhibits large swirls or vortices, whose scale is set by activity, and appears to diverge as one approaches the glass transition. Read More


Nanotubes of various kinds have been prepared in the last decade, starting from the discovery of carbon nanotubes. Recently other types of nanotubes including metallic (Au), inorganic (TiO2, HfS2, V7O16, CdSe, MoS2), and polymeric (polyaniline, polyacrylonitrile) have been produced. Herein we present a novel synthetic procedure leading to a new kind of porous, high-surface-area nanoparticle nanotubes (NPNTs). Read More


The physics of tightly packed structures of a wire and other threadlike materials confined in cavities has been explored in recent years in connection with crumpled systems and a number of topics ranging from applications to DNA packing in viral capsids and surgical interventions with catheter to analogies with the electron gas at finite temperature and with theories of two-dimensional quantum gravity. When a long piece of wire is injected into two-dimensional cavities, it bends and originates in the jammed limit a series of closed structures that we call loops. In this work we study the extraction of a crumpled tightly packed wire from a circular cavity aiming to remove loops individually. Read More


We investigate finite-size effects on diffusion in confined fluids using molecular dynamics simulations and hydrodynamic calculations. Specifically, we consider a Lennard-Jones fluid in slit pores without slip at the interface and show that the use of periodic boundary conditions in the directions along the surfaces results in dramatic finite-size effects, in addition to that of the physically relevant confining length. As in the simulation of bulk fluids, these effects arise from spurious hydrodynamic interactions between periodic images and from the constraint of total momentum conservation. Read More


Recent progress in advanced additive manufacturing techniques has stimulated the growth of the field of mechanical metamaterials. One area particular interest in this subject is the creation of auxetic material properties through elastic instability. This paper focuses on a novel methodology in the analysis of auxetic metamaterials through analogy with rigid link lattice systems. Read More


We discuss the hydrodynamic collective effects due to active protein molecules that are immersed in lipid bilayer membranes and modeled as stochastic force dipoles. We specifically take into account the presence of the bulk solvent which surrounds the two-dimensional fluid membrane. Two membrane geometries are considered: the free membrane case and the confined membrane case. Read More


We study theoretically the edge fracture instability in sheared complex fluids, by means of linear stability analysis and direct nonlinear simulations. We derive an exact analytical expression for the onset of edge fracture in terms of the shear-rate derivative of the fluid's second normal stress difference, the shear-rate derivative of the shear stress, the jump in shear stress across the interface between the fluid and the outside medium (usually air), the surface tension of that interface, and the rheometer gap size. We provide a full mechanistic understanding of the edge fracture instability, carefully validated against our simulations. Read More


Ribbons are topological objects of biological and technological importance. Here, we study the folding of thick ribbons with hydrophobic surfaces in a bad solvent in regimes in which either the ribbon's thickness or the solvent molecule size is not vanishingly small compared to the ribbon's width. Extensive Monte Carlo simulations show that ribbons of various lengths and with a small stiffness adopt several distinct configurations as the ground state that include rolled (Archimedean spiral), curled, twisted and globule conformations. Read More


We study acoustic modes of a close-packed hexagonal lattice of spheres adhered to a substrate, propagating along a high-symmetry direction. The model, accounting for both normal and shear coupling between the spheres and between the spheres and the substrate, yields three contact-based vibrational modes involving both translational and rotational motion of the spheres. Furthermore, we study the effect of sphere-substrate and sphere-sphere contacts on spheroidal vibrational modes of the spheres within a perturbative approach. Read More


The settling of cohesive sediment is ubiquitous in aquatic environments. In the settling process, the silt particles show behaviors that are different from non-cohesive particles due to the influence of inter-particle cohesive force. While it is a consensus that cohesive behaviors depend on the characteristics of sediment particles (e. Read More


Bacterial colonies are abundant on living and non-living surfaces and are known to mediate a broad range of processes in ecology, medicine and industry. Although extensively researched, from single cells to demographic scales, a comprehensive biomechanical picture, highlighting the cell-to-colony dynamics, is still lacking. Here, using molecular dynamics simulations and continuous modelling, we investigate the geometrical and mechanical properties of a bacterial colony growing on a substrate with free boundary, and demonstrate that such an expanding colony self-organizes into a "mosaic" of micro-domains consisting of highly aligned cells. Read More


We study stochastic dynamics of an inclusion within a one dimensional confined viscous active fluid. To highlight various features and to appeal to different contexts, the inclusion is in turn treated as a rigid element, an elastic element and a viscoelastic (Kelvin-Voigt) element. We show that the dynamics for the shape and position of the inclusion can be described by coupled Langevin equations with a confining potential and multiplicative noise. Read More