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Influences of depletion potential on vapor-liquid critical point metastability
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Phase behavior of a neutral colloid dispersion is investigated based on an improved Asakura-Oosawa (AO) model. Several observations are made: (i) an increase of solvent fugacity can enlarge the fluid-solid (FS) coexistence region, and this makes fugacity become a powerful factor in tuning a vapor-liquid transition (VLT) critical point metastability. (ii) A reducing of size ratio of the solvent versus colloid particle can enlarge the FS coexistence region as well as lower the VLT critical temperature, and a combination of the two effects makes the size ratio an extremely powerful factor adjusting the VLT critical point metastability. (iii) Existence of a long-range attraction term in the effective colloid potential is not a necessary condition for occurrence of a vapor-solidtransition (VST), and short-ranged oscillatory depletion potential also can induce the VST over an even broader temperature range. (iv) Sensitivity of the freezing line on the size ratio is disclosed, and one can make use of the sensitivity to prepare mono-disperse colloid of well-controlled diameter by following a fractionated crystallization scheme; moreover, broadening of the FST coexistence region by raising the solvent fugacity and/or lowering the size ratio has important implication for crystallization process.
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