Minimal Energy Clusters of Hard Spheres with Short Range Attractions


Arkus, N. ; Manoharan, V. N. ; Brenner, M. P. Minimal Energy Clusters of Hard Spheres with Short Range Attractions. Physical Review Letters 2009, 103, 118303-4.


We calculate the ground states of hard-sphere clusters, in which n identical hard spherical particles bind by isotropic short-ranged attraction. Combining graph theoretic enumeration with basic geometry, we analytically solve for clusters of n<=10 particles satisfying minimal rigidity constraints. For n<=9 the ground state degeneracy increases exponentially with n, but for n>9 the degeneracy decreases due to the formation of structures with >3n-6 contacts. Interestingly, for n=10 and possibly at n=11 and n=12, the ground states of this system are subsets of hexagonal close-packed crystals. The ground states are not icosahedra at n=12 and n=13. We relate our results to the structure and thermodynamics of suspensions of colloidal particles with short-ranged attractions.

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Last updated on 01/27/2018