In the News





Hierarchical bounding structures for efficient virial computations: Towards a realistic molecular description of cholesterics

Maxime M. C. Tortora and Jonathan P.K. Doye

J. Chem. Phys. 147, 224504 (2017)


We detail the application of bounding volume hierarchies to accelerate second-virial evaluations for arbitrary complex particles interacting through hard and soft finite-range potentials. This procedure, based on the construction of neighbour lists through the combined use of recursive atom-decomposition techniques and binary overlap search schemes, is shown to scale sub-logarithmically with particle resolution in the case of molecular systems with high aspect ratios. Its implementation within an efficient numerical and theoretical framework based on classical density functional theory enables us to investigate the cholesteric self-assembly of a wide range of experimentally relevant particle models. We illustrate the method through the determination of the cholesteric behavior of hard, structurally resolved twisted cuboids, and report quantitative evidence of the long-predicted phase handedness inversion with increasing particle thread angles near the phenomenological threshold value of 45°. Our results further highlight the complex relationship between microscopic structure and helical twisting power in such model systems, which may be attributed to subtle geometric variations of their chiral excluded-volume manifold.

The full paper is available from The Journal of Chemical Physics and arXiv.org.