Statistical field theory description of inhomogeneous polarizable soft matte

We present a new molecularly informed statistical field theory model of inhomogeneous polarizable soft matter. The model is based on fluid elements, referred to as beads, that can carry a net monopole of charge at their center of mass and a fixed or induced dipole through a Drude-type distributed charge approach. The beads are thus polarizable and naturally manifest attractive van der Waals interactions. Beyond electrostatic interactions, beads can be given soft repulsions to sustain fluid phases at arbitrary densities. Beads of different types can be mixed or linked into polymers with arbitrary chain models and sequences of charged and uncharged beads. By such an approach, it is possible to construct models suitable for describing a vast range of soft-matter systems including electrolyte and polyelectrolyte solutions, ionic liquids, polymerized ionic liquids, polymer blends, ionomers, and block copolymers, among others. These bead models can be constructed in virtually any ensemble and converted to complex-valued statistical field theories by Hubbard-Stratonovich transforms. One of the fields entering the resulting theories is a fluctuating electrostatic potential; other fields are necessary to decouple non-electrostatic interactions. We elucidate the structure of these field theories, their consistency with macroscopic electrostatic theory in the absence and presence of external electric fields, and the way in which they embed van der Waals interactions and non-uniform dielectric properties. Their suitability as a framework for computational studies of heterogeneous soft matter systems using field-theoretic simulation techniques is discussed.

Martin, J.M., Li, W., Delaney, K.T. and Fredrickson, G.H.
The Journal of Chemical Physics
Volume: 145
Number: 154104
Date: October, 2016
ICB Affiliated Authors: Glenn H Fredrickson