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How close to two dimensions does a Lennard-Jones system need to be to produce a hexatic phase?

: Gribova, N.; Arnold, A.; Schilling, T.; Holm, C.


The Journal of chemical physics 135 (2011), Nr.5, Art. 054514
ISSN: 0021-9606
Fraunhofer SCAI ()

We report on a computer simulation study of a Lennard-Jones liquid confined in a narrow slit pore with tunable attractive walls. In order to investigate how freezing in this system occurs, we perform an analysis using different order parameters. Although some of the parameters indicate that the system goes through a hexatic phase, other parameters do not. This shows that to be certain whether a system of a finite particle number has a hexatic phase, one needs to study not only a large system, but also several order parameters to check all necessary properties. We find that the Binder cumulant is the most reliable one to prove the existence of a hexatic phase. We observe an intermediate hexatic phase only in a monolayer of particles confined such that the fluctuations in the positions perpendicular to the walls are less than 0.15 particle diameters, i.e., if the system is practically perfectly 2D.