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Durham e-Theses
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Towards improved simulations of self-organising molecular materials

LINTUVUORI, JUHO,SAKARI (2009) Towards improved simulations of self-organising molecular materials. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Computer simulations can be used in parallel with experimental techniques to gain
valuable insights into physical systems, test theoretical models or predict new be-
haviour of molecular materials. Long time and large length scales, in combination
with problems of phase space sampling, present a grand challenge for simulations
of self-organising molecular materials. In the work presented in this thesis, the aim
has been to develop and apply new or recent simulation models and methods to
address these issues, with the aim of producing improved simulations of molecular
A new anisotropic model for simulating mesogenic systems has been developed,
based on a soft core spherocylinder potential. This model is tested for single site
systems and a multipedal liquid crystalline molecule, using conventional molecular
dynamics simulations. It is used also to map out an approximate phase diagram
for a main chain liquid crystalline polymer as a function of the volume fraction of
the mesogenic unit; and to study the effects of a chiral medium on flexible achiral
dopant molecules. Results here, show a preferential selection of conformations of
similar chirality to the solvent. Later in the thesis, this new soft core spherocylinder
model, is combined with a recently developed simulation methdology, Statistical
Temperature Molecular Dynamics, to study the isotropic-nematic phase transition of a single site mesogen and the isotropic-lamellar phase transition of a model rod-
coil diblock copolymer, using a single simulation to span the temperature window
corresponding to the phase transition.
Additional simulations combine a mesoscopic simulation method, Stochastic Ro-
tational Dynamics, with a coarse grained surfactant model. This allows a computa-
tionally efficient solvent description while maintaining correct hydrodynamics. Re-
sults presented here include the formation of a bilayer, via spontaneous self-assembly
of surfactant molecules, and information on the pathways of micelle formation.
In the final result chapter of this thesis, Hamiltonian replica exchange simulations
are performed employing soft-core replicas for a Gay-Berne system. The simulation
results show an order of magnitude increase in equilibration speed of the ordered
phase when compared to conventional simulations of a Gay-Berne fluid.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:molecular simulation, liquid crystals, self-assembly, molecular dynamics, advanced methods
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Chemistry, Department of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Dec 2009 09:47

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