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Title: Computer simulation and theoretical prediction of thermally induced polarisation
Author: Wirnsberger, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 7651 9407
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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In this thesis, we study the phenomenon of thermally induced polarisation using a combination of theory and computer simulation. Molecules of sufficiently low symmetry exhibit thermo-molecular orientation when subjected to a temperature gradient, leading to considerable electrostatic fields in polar liquids. Here, we first use non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations to study this interesting effect numerically. To this end, we propose an integration algorithm to impose a constant heat flux in simulations and show that it greatly improves energy conservation compared to a previous algorithm. We next investigate the thermal polarisation of water and find that truncation of electrostatic interactions can lead to severe artefacts, such as the wrong sign of polarisation and an overestimation of the electric field. We further show that the quadrupole-moment contribution to the electric field is significant and responsible for an inversion of its sign. To facilitate the theoretical description of electrostatic interactions, we propose a new dipolar model fluid as a perturbation of a Stockmayer fluid. Using this modified Stockmayer model, we provide numerical evidence for the recently proposed phenomenon of thermally induced monopoles. We show that the electrostatic field generated by a pair of heated/cooled colloidal particles immersed in such a solvent can be trivially described by two Coulomb charges. Finally, we propose a mean-field theory to predict the thermo-polarisation effect exhibited by our model fluid theoretically, and demonstrate near quantitative agreement with simulation results.
Supervisor: Frenkel, Daan Sponsor: Austrian Academy of Sciences ; Erwin Schrödinger Institute for Mathematics and Physics ; Cambridge Philosophical Society
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Non-equilibrium molecular dynamics ; thermo-polarisation effect ; statistical physics ; computational physics ; mean-field theory ; multipole expansion ; quadrupole moment ; Ewald summation ; Wolf method ; electric field ; thermally induced monopoles ; thermal polarisation ; eHEX algorithm ; temperature gradient ; heat exchange algorithm ; energy conservation ; off-centre Stockmayer model