Tetratic order in the phase behavior of a hard-rectangle system

Aleksandar Donev, Joshua Burton, Frank H. Stillinger, Salvatore Torquato

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Previous Monte Carlo investigations by Wojciechowski have found two unusual phases in two-dimensional systems of anisotropic hard particles: a tetratic phase of fourfold symmetry for hard squares [Comput. Methods Sci. Tech. 10, 235 (2004)], and a nonperiodic degenerate solid phase for hard-disk dimers [Phys. Rev. Lett. 66, 3168 (1991)]. In this work, we study a system of hard rectangles of aspect ratio two, i.e., hard-square dimers (or dominos), and demonstrate that it exhibits phases with both of these unusual properties. The liquid shows quasi-long-range tetratic order, with no nematic order. The solid phase we observe is a nonperiodic tetratic phase having the structure of a random tiling of the square lattice with dominos with the well-known degeneracy entropy 1.79 kB per particle. Our simulations do not conclusively establish the thermodynamic stability of this orientationally disordered solid; however, there are strong indications that this phase is glassy. Our observations are consistent with a two-stage phase transition scenario developed by Kosterlitz and co-workers with two continuous phase transitions, the first from isotropic to tetratic liquid, and the second from tetratic liquid to solid. We obtain similar results with both a classical Monte Carlo method using true rectangles and a novel molecular dynamics algorithm employing rectangles with rounded corners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054109
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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