Separation and fractionation of order and disorder in highly polydisperse systems

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We study a polydisperse soft-spheres model for colloids by means of microcanonical Monte Carlo simulations. We consider a polydispersity as high as 24%. Although solidification occurs, neither a crystal nor an amorphous state are thermodynamically stable. A finite size scaling analysis reveals that in the thermodynamic limit: a the fluid-solid transition is rather a crystal-amorphous phase-separation, b such phase-separation is preceded by the dynamic glass transition, and c small and big particles arrange themselves in the two phases according to a complex pattern not predicted by any fractionation scenario.
© 2010 The American Physical Society.We acknowledge BIFI cluster and CINECA for 2 x 10^(5) h of computer time. We have been partly supported through Research Contracts No. FIS2006-08533, No. FIS2009-12648-C03-01, and No. FIS2008-01323 MICINN, Spain and by UCM-Banco de Santander Grant No. GR58/ 08. B.S. was supported by the FPU program (Spain).
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