PREFACE: Classical density functional theory methods in soft and hard matter Classical density functional theory methods in soft and hard matter

NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

Herein we provide a brief summary of the background, events and results/outcome of the CECAM workshop 'Classical density functional theory methods in soft and hard matter held in Lausanne between October 21 and October 23 2009, which brought together two largely separately working communities, both of whom employ classical density functional techniques: the soft-matter community and the theoretical materials science community with interests in phase transformations and evolving microstructures in engineering materials. After outlining the motivation for the workshop, we first provide a brief overview of the articles submitted by the invited speakers for this special issue of Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, followed by a collection of outstanding problems identified and discussed during the workshop. 1. Introduction Classical density functional theory (DFT) is a theoretical framework, which has been extensively employed in the past to study inhomogeneous complex fluids (CF) [1-4] and freezing transitions for simple fluids, amongst other things. Furthermore, classical DFT has been extended to include dynamics of the density field, thereby opening a new avenue to study phase transformation kinetics in colloidal systems via dynamical DFT (DDFT) [5]. While DDFT is highly accurate, the computations are numerically rather demanding, and cannot easily access the mesoscopic temporal and spatial scales where diffusional instabilities lead to complex solidification morphologies. Adaptation of more efficient numerical methods would extend the domain of DDFT towards this regime of particular interest to materials scientists. In recent years, DFT has re-emerged in the form of the so-called 'phase-field crystal' (PFC) method for solid-state systems [6, 7], and it has been successfully employed to study a broad variety of interesting materials phenomena in both atomic and colloidal systems, including elastic and plastic deformations, grain growth, thin film growth, solid-liquid interface properties, glassy dynamics, nucleation and growth, and diffusive phase transformations at the nano- and mesoscales [8-16]. The appealing feature of DDFT (as applied to solid-state systems) is that it automatically incorporates diffusive dynamics with atomic scale spatial resolution, and it naturally incorporates multiple components, elastic strains, dislocations, free surfaces, and multiple crystalline orientations; all of these features are critical in modeling the behavior of solid-state systems. Similarities between the problems of interest to the two communities and the complementary nature of the methods they apply suggest that a direct interaction between them should be highly beneficial for both parties. Here we summarize some of the discussions during a three-day CECAM workshop in Lausanne (21-23 October 2009) which was organized in order to bring together researchers from the complex fluids and materials science communities and to foster the exchange of ideas between these two communities. During the course of the workshop, several open problems relevant to both fields (DFT and PFC) were identified, including developing better microscopically-informed density functionals, incorporating stochastic fluctuations, and accounting for hydrodynamic interactions. The goal of this special issue is to highlight recent progress in DFT and PFC approaches, and discuss key outstanding problems for future work. The rest of this introductory paper is organized as follows. In section 2, we give a brief overview of the current research topics addressed in this special issue. Then, in section 3, we present a collection of outstanding problems, which have been identified as important for further developments of the two fields and intensely debated at the CECAM workshop. Finally, we close the paper with a few concluding remarks. 2. Research topics addressed in this special issue This special issue consists of research papers that cover a broad range of interesting subjects, about a half of which are related to the theoretical materials science community and

Haataja, Mikko; Gránásy, László; Löwen, Hartmut

2010-08-01