Abstract:
We study the elastic properties of a rigid filament in a bath of self-propelled particles. We find that while fully flexible filaments swell monotonically upon increasing the strength of the propelling force, rigid filaments soften for moderate activities, collapse into metastable hairpins for intermediate strengths, and eventually re-expand when the strength of the activity of the surrounding fluid is large. This collapse and re-expansion of the filament with the bath activity is reminiscent of the behavior observed in polyelectrolytes in the presence of different concentrations of multivalent salt.

Abstract:
We report a Molecular Dynamics study of homogenous bubble nucleation in a Lennard-Jones fluid. The rate of bubble nucleation is estimated using forward-flux sampling (FFS). We find that cavitation starts with compact bubbles rather than with ramified structures as had been suggested by Shen and Debenedetti (J. Chem. Phys. 111:3581, 1999). Our estimate of the bubble-nucleation rate is higher than predicted on the basis of Classical Nucleation Theory (CNT). Our simulations show that local temperature fluctuations correlate strongly with subsequent bubble formation - this mechanism is not taken into account in CNT.

Abstract:
We report a numerical study of the rate of crystal nucleation in a binary suspension of oppositely charged colloids. Two different crystal structures compete in the thermodynamic conditions under study. We find that the crystal phase that nucleates is metastable and, more surprisingly, its nucleation free energy barrier is not the lowest one. This implies that, during nucleation, there is insufficient time for sub-critical nuclei to relax to their lowest free-energy structure. Such behavior is in direct contradiction with the common assumption that the phase that crystallizes most readily is the one with the lowest free-energy barrier for nucleation. The phenomenon that we describe should be relevant for crystallization experiments where competing solid structures are not connected by an easy transformation.

Abstract:
Rare events are ubiquitous in many different fields, yet they are notoriously difficult to simulate because few, if any, events are observed in a conventiona l simulation run. Over the past several decades, specialised simulation methods have been developed to overcome this problem. We review one recently-developed class of such methods, known as Forward Flux Sampling. Forward Flux Sampling uses a series of interfaces between the initial and final states to calculate rate constants and generate transition paths, for rare events in equilibrium or nonequilibrium systems with stochastic dynamics. This review draws together a number of recent advances, summarizes several applications of the method and highlights challenges that remain to be overcome.

Abstract:
We present a joint experimental and computational study of the effect of bacterial motion on micron-scale colloids contained in a two-dimensional suspension of Bacillus subtilis. With respect to previous work using E. coli, here we introduce a novel experimental set-up that allows us to realise a two-dimensional bacterial suspension insensitive to either evaporation or fluid flow. By analysing the mean square displacements of both bacteria and colloids, we confirm the existence of a crossover from super-diffusive behaviour at short time scales to normal diffusion at longer times. We also study the same two-dimensional system by means of numerical simulations, using a suspension of self-propelled dumbbells or the Vicsek model, which has been previously used to study the dynamics of active particles. Our numerical results obtained with both models are in broad agreement with the experimental trends, but only the dumbbell simulations can match the experimental data quantitatively. The level of agreement we find suggest that steric interactions due to collisions are important players in determining collective motion of the bacterial bath, and should complement hydrodynamic interactions in experiments.

Abstract:
Simulations using the Forward Flux Sampling method have shown a nonmonotonic de- pendence of the homogeneous nucleation rate on the shear rate for a sheared two dimensional Ising model [R. J. Allen et al, arXiv cond-mat/0805.3029]. For quasi-equilibrium systems (i.e. in the absence of shear), Classical Nucleation Theory (CNT) predicts the dependence of the critical cluster size and the nucleation rate on the external magnetic field. We investigate the behaviour of the sheared Ising model as a function of the external field. At low exter- nal field strength, the same nonmonotonic behaviour holds and the peak in the nucleation rate is remarkably insensitive to the field strength. This suggests that the same external field-dependence holds for the enhancement of nucleation by shear at low shear rates and the suppression of shear at high shear rates. At high field strength, the nucleation behaviour is qualitatively different. We also analyse the size and shape of the largest cluster in the transition state configurations, as a function of the external field. In the sheared system, the transition state cluster becomes larger and more elongated as the field strength decreases. We compare our results for the sheared system to the predictions of the CNT for the quasi- equilibrium case, and find that the CNT cannot easily be used to describe nucleation in the system under shear.

Abstract:
We study the out-of-equilibrium dynamics following a temperature-jump in a model for a strong liquid, BKS-silica, and compare it with the well known case of fragile liquids. We calculate the fluctuation-dissipation relation, from which it is possible to estimate an effective temperature $T_{eff}$ associated to the slow out-of-equilibrium structural degrees of freedom. We find the striking and unexplained result that, differently from the fragile liquid cases, $T_{eff}$ is smaller than the bath temperature.

Abstract:
We propose a parameter-free algorithm for the identification of nearest neighbors. The algorithm is very easy to use and has a number of advantages over existing algorithms to identify nearest- neighbors. This solid-angle based nearest-neighbor algorithm (SANN) attributes to each possible neighbor a solid angle and determines the cutoff radius by the requirement that the sum of the solid angles is 4{\pi}. The algorithm can be used to analyze 3D images, both from experiments as well as theory, and as the algorithm has a low computational cost, it can also be used "on the fly" in simulations. In this paper, we describe the SANN algorithm, discuss its properties, and compare it to both a fixed-distance cutoff algorithm and to a Voronoi construction by analyzing its behavior in bulk phases of systems of carbon atoms, Lennard-Jones particles and hard spheres as well as in Lennard-Jones systems with liquid-crystal and liquid-vapor interfaces.

Abstract:
We use numerical simulations to study the phase behavior of self-propelled spherical and dumbbellar particles interacting via micro-phase separation inducing potentials. Our results indicate that under the appropriate conditions, it is possible to drive the formation of two new active states; a spinning cluster crystal, i.e. an ordered mesoscopic phase having finite size spinning crystallites as lattice sites, and a fluid of living clusters, i.e. a two dimensional fluid where each "particle" is a finite size living cluster. We discuss the dynamics of these phases and suggest ways of extending their stability under a wide range of active forces.

Abstract:
We compute rates and pathways for nucleation in a sheared two dimensional Ising model with Metropolis spin flip dynamics, using Forward Flux Sampling (FFS). We find a peak in the nucleation rate at intermediate shear rate. We analyse the origin of this peak using modified shear algorithms and committor analysis. We find that the peak arises from an interplay between three shear-mediated effects: shear-enhanced cluster growth, cluster coalescence and cluster breakup. Our results show that complex nucleation behaviour can be found even in a simple driven model system. This work also demonstrates the use of FFS for simulating rare events, including nucleation, in nonequilibrium systems.