Simple models of complex aggregation: Vesicle formation by soft repulsive spheres with dipolelike interactions

Pietro Ballone, Mario Del Popolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Structural and thermodynamic properties of spherical particles carrying classical spins are investigated by Monte Carlo simulations. The potential energy is the sum of short range, purely repulsive pair contributions, and spin-spin interactions. These last are of the dipole-dipole form, with however, a crucial change of sign. At low density and high temperature the system is a homogeneous fluid of weakly interacting particles and short range spin correlations. With decreasing temperature particles condense into an equilibrium population of free floating vesicles. The comparison with the electrostatic case, giving rise to predominantly one-dimensional aggregates under similar conditions, is discussed. In both cases condensation is a continuous transformation, provided the isotropic part of the interatomic potential is purely repulsive. At low temperature the model allows us to investigate thermal and mechanical properties of membranes. At intermediate temperatures it provides a simple model to investigate equilibrium polymerization in a system giving rise to predominantly two-dimensional aggregates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031404
Pages (from-to)031404-1-031404-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics

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