Pressure and density scaling for colloid-polymer systems in the protein limit

Nathan A. Mahynski, Thomas Lafitte, Athanassios Z. Panagiotopoulos

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17 Scopus citations


Grand canonical Monte Carlo and histogram reweighting techniques are used to study the fluid-phase behavior of an athermal system of colloids and nonadsorbing polymers on a fine lattice in the "protein limit," where polymer dimensions exceed those of the colloids. The main parameters are the chains' radius of gyration, R g, the diameter of the colloids, σ c, and the monomer diameter, σ s. The phase behavior is controlled by the macroscopic size ratio, q r=2R gc, and the microscopic size ratio, d=σ sc. The latter ratio is found to play a significant role in determining the critical monomer concentration for q r4 and the critical colloid density for all chain lengths. However, the critical (osmotic) pressure is independent of the microscopic size ratio at all macroscopic size ratios studied. Quantitative agreement is observed between our simulation results and experimental data. We scale our results based on the polymer correlation length, which has previously been suggested to universally collapse these binodals. While the density binodals exhibit universal characteristics along the low-colloid-density branch, such features are not present in the corresponding high-density phase. However, pressure binodals do collapse nicely under such a scaling, even far from the critical point, which allows us to produce a binodal curve whose shape is independent of either size ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051402
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 11 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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