Abstract:
A mixture of hard-sphere particles and model emulsion droplets is studied with a Brownian dynamics simulation. We find that the addition of nonwetting emulsion droplets to a suspension of pure hard spheres can lead to both gas-liquid and fluid-solid phase separations. Furthermore, we find a stable fluid of hard-sphere clusters. The stability is due to the saturation of the attraction that occurs when the surface of the droplets is completely covered with colloidal particles. At larger emulsion droplet densities a percolation transition is observed. The resulting networks of colloidal particles show dynamical and mechanical properties typical of a colloidal gel. The results of the model are in good qualitative agreement with recent experimental findings [E. Koos and N. Willenbacher, Science 331, 897 (2011)] in a mixture of colloidal particles and two immiscible fluids.

Abstract:
We investigate the onset of the wall-induced convection in vertically vibrated granular matter by means of experiments and two-dimensional computer simulations. In both simulations and experiments we find that the wall-induced convection occurs inside the bouncing bed region of the parameter space in which the granular bed behaves like a bouncing ball. A good agreement between experiments and simulations is found for the peak vibration acceleration at which convection starts. By comparing the results of simulations initialised with and without defects, we find that the onset of convection occurs at lower vibration strengths in the presence of defects. Furthermore, we find that the convection of granular particles initialised in a perfect hexagonal lattice is related to the nucleation of defects and the process is described by an Arrhenius law.

Abstract:
We study the phase behavior of hard spheres confined between two parallel hard plates using extensive computer simulations. We determine the full equilibrium phase diagram for arbitrary densities and plate separations from one to five hard-sphere diameters using free energy calculations. We find a first-order fluid-solid transition, which corresponds to either capillary freezing or melting depending on the plate separation. The coexisting solid phase consists of crystalline layers with either triangular or square symmetry. Increasing the plate separation, we find a sequence of crystal structures from n triangular to (n+1) square to (n+1) triangular, where n is the number of crystal layers, in agreement with experiments on colloids. At high densities, the transition between square to triangular phases are intervened by intermediate structures, e.g., prism, buckled, and rhombic phases.

Abstract:
We investigate with Monte Carlo computer simulations the capillary phase behaviour of model colloid-polymer mixtures confined between a flat wall and a corrugated wall. The corrugation is modelled via a sine wave as a function of one of the in-plane coordinates leading to a depletion attraction between colloids and the corrugated wall that is curvature dependent. We find that for increased amplitude of corrugation the region of the phase diagram where capillary condensation occurs becomes larger. We derive a Kelvin equation for this system and compare its predictions to the simulation results. We find good agreement between theory and simulation indicating that the primary reason for the stronger capillary condensation is an increased contact area between the fluid and the corrugated substrate. On the other hand, the colloid adsorption curves at colloid gas-liquid coexistence show that the increased area is not solely responsible for the stronger capillary condensation. Additionally, we analyse the dimensional crossover from a quasi-2D to a quasi-1D system and find that the transition is characterised by the appearance of a metastable phase.

Abstract:
We study the transport of paramagnetic colloidal particles on a patterned magnetic substrate with kinetic Monte Carlo and Brownian dynamics computer simulations. The planar substrate is decorated with point dipoles in either parallel or zigzag stripe arrangements and exposed to an additional external magnetic field that oscillates in time. For the case of parallel stripes we find that the magnitude and direction of the particle current is controlled by the tilt angle of the external magnetic field. The effect is reliably obtained in a wide range of ratios between temperature and magnetic permeability. Particle transport is achieved only when the period of oscillation of the external field is greater than a critical value. For the case of zigzag stripes a current is obtained using an oscillating external field normal to the substrate. In this case, transport is only possible in the vertex of the zigzag, giving rise to a narrow stream of particles. The magnitude and direction of the particle current are found to be controlled by a combination of the zigzag angle and the distance of the colloids from the substrate. Metropolis Monte Carlo and Brownian dynamics simulations predict results that are in good agreement with each other. Using kinetic Monte Carlo we find that at high density the particle transport is hindered by jamming.

Abstract:
We report a numerical study of equilibrium phase-diagrams and interfacial properties of bulk and confined colloid-polymer mixtures using grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations. Colloidal particles are treated as hard spheres, while the polymer chains are described as soft repulsive spheres. The polymer-polymer, colloid-polymer, and wall-polymer interactions are described by density-dependent potentials derived by Bolhuis and Louis [Macromolecules, 35 (2002), p.1860]. We compared our results with those of the Asakura-Oosawa-Vrij model, that treats the polymers as ideal particles. We find that the number of polymers needed to drive the demixing transition is larger for the interacting polymers, and that the gas-liquid interfacial tension is smaller. When the system is confined between two parallel hard plates, we find capillary condensation. Compared with the AOV model, we find that the excluded volume interactions between the polymers suppress capillary condensation. In order to induce capillary condensation, smaller undersaturations and smaller plate separations are needed in comparison with ideal polymers.

Abstract:
We systematically study the relationship between equilibrium and non-equilibrium phase diagrams of a system of short-ranged attractive colloids. Using Monte Carlo and Brownian dynamics simulations we find a window of enhanced crystallization that is limited at high interaction strength by a slowing down of the dynamics and at low interaction strength by the high nucleation barrier. We find that the crystallization is enhanced by the metastable gas-liquid binodal by means of a two-stage crystallization process. First, the formation of a dense liquid is observed and second the crystal nucleates within the dense fluid. In addition, we find at low colloid packing fractions a fluid of clusters, and at higher colloid packing fractions a percolating network due to an arrested gas-liquid phase separation that we identify with gelation. We find that this arrest is due to crystallization at low interaction energy and it is caused by a slowing down of the dynamics at high interaction strength. Likewise, we observe that the clusters which are formed at low colloid packing fractions are crystalline at low interaction energy, but glassy at high interaction energy. The clusters coalesce upon encounter.

Abstract:
We study the order-disorder transition of horizontally swirled dry and wet granular disks by means of computer simulations. Our systematic investigation of the local order formation as a function of amplitude and period of the external driving force shows that a large cluster of hexagonally ordered particles forms for both dry and wet granular particles at intermediate driving energies. Disordered states are found at small and large driving energies. Wet granular particles reach a higher degree of local hexagonal order, with respect to the dry case. For both cases we report a qualitative phase diagram showing the amount of local order at different state points. Furthermore we find that the transition from hexagonal order to a disordered state is characterised by the appearance of particles with square local order.

Abstract:
We study the stability of mixtures of highly screened repulsive charged spheres and non-adsorbing ideal polymer chains in a common solvent using free volume theory. The effective interaction between charged colloids in an aqueous salt solution is described by a screened-Coulomb pair potential, which supplements the pure hard-sphere interaction. The ideal polymer chains are treated as spheres that are excluded from the colloids by a hard-core interaction, whereas the interaction between two ideal chains is set to zero. In addition, we investigate the phase behaviour of charged colloid-polymer mixtures in computer simulations, using the two-body (Asakura-Oosawa pair potential) approximation to the effective one-component Hamiltonian of the charged colloids. Both our results obtained from simulations and from free volume theory show similar trends. We find that the screened-Coulomb repulsion counteracts the effect of the effective polymer-mediated attraction. For mixtures of small polymers and relatively large charged colloidal spheres, the fluid-crystal transition shifts to significantly larger polymer concentrations with increasing range of the screened-Coulomb repulsion. For relatively large polymers, the effect of the screened-Coulomb repulsion is weaker. The resulting fluid-fluid binodal is only slightly shifted towards larger polymer concentrations upon increasing the range of the screened-Coulomb repulsion. In conclusion, our results show that the miscibility of dispersions containing charged colloids and neutral non-adsorbing polymers increases, upon increasing the range of the screened-Coulomb repulsion, or upon lowering the salt concentration, especially when the polymers are small compared to the colloids.

Abstract:
Using Gibbs ensemble Monte Carlo simulations and density functional theory we investigate the fluid-fluid demixing transition in inhomogeneous colloid-polymer mixtures confined between two parallel plates with separation distances between one and ten colloid diameters covering the complete range from quasi two-dimensional to bulk-like behavior. We use the Asakura-Oosawa-Vrij model in which colloid-colloid and colloid-polymer interactions are hard-sphere like, whilst the pair potential between polymers vanishes. Two different types of confinement induced by a pair of parallel walls are considered, namely either through two hard walls or through two semi-permeable walls that repel colloids but allow polymers to freely penetrate. For hard (semi-permeable) walls we find that the capillary binodal is shifted towards higher (lower) polymer fugacities and lower (higher) colloid fugacities as compared to the bulk binodal; this implies capillary condensation (evaporation) of the colloidal liquid phase in the slit. A macroscopic treatment is provided by a novel symmetric Kelvin equation for general binary mixtures, based on the proximity in chemical potentials of statepoints at capillary coexistence and the reference bulk coexistence. Results for capillary binodals compare well with those obtained from the classic version of the Kelvin equation due to Evans and Marini Bettolo Marconi [J. Chem. Phys. 86, 7138 (1987)], and are quantitatively accurate away from the fluid-fluid critical point, even at small wall separations. For hard walls the density profiles of polymers and colloids inside the slit display oscillations due to packing effects for all statepoints. For semi-permeable walls either similar structuring or flat profiles are found, depending on the statepoint considered.