Fluid-fluid phase transitions in a chiral molecular model

Yiming Wang, Frank H. Stillinger, Pablo G. Debenedetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Molecular chirality is a fundamental phenomenon, underlying both life as we know it and industrial pharmaceutical syntheses. Understanding the symmetry breaking phase transitions exhibited by many chiral molecular substances provides basic insights for topics ranging from the origin of life to the rational design of drug manufacturing processes. In this work, we have performed molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the fluid-fluid phase transitions of a flexible three-dimensional four-site chiral molecular model developed by Latinwo et al. [J. Chem. Phys. 145, 154503 (2016)] and Petsev et al. [J. Chem. Phys. 155, 084105 (2021)]. By introducing a bias favoring local homochiral vs heterochiral interactions, the system exhibits a phase transition from a single achiral phase to a single chiral phase that undergoes infrequent interconversion between the two thermodynamically identical chiral states: the L-rich and D-rich phases. According to the phase rule, this reactive binary system has two independent degrees of freedom and exhibits a density-dependent critical locus. Below the liquid-liquid critical locus, there exists a first-order vapor-liquid coexistence region with a single independent degree of freedom. Our results provide basic thermodynamic and kinetic insights for understanding many-body chiral symmetry breaking phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084501
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 28 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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