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The Topology and Morphology of Bicontinuous Interfaces

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Date and time Nov 20, 2008
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Location Physics McLennan (MP)102
Host Rashmi Desai

Peter Voorhees


CollNov20We examine the topology and morphology of interfaces produced following phase separation in systems with conserved and nonconserved order parameters.  These processes produce complex bicontinuous phases that have interfaces with spatially varying curvature, as shown in the accompanying figure where the spatial variation (high is red, and low is black) of the Gaussian curvature is shown.  The morphology of these complex microstructures is determined using the interfacial shape distribution, the probability of finding a patch of interface with a given pair of principal curvatures. The topology is quantified by the genus. We find the same scaled genus for all bicontinuous mixtures, regardless of the volume fraction of the phases and whether the order parameter is conserved or nonconserved.  We also characterize the spatial correlations of the interfacial curvature.  This analysis has indentified new characteristic length scales of these complex structures.  In the structure produced using nonconserved dynamics, despite the local evolution law governing interfacial motion, long-range correlations develop that lead to a characteristic length scale associated with the distance between high-curvature tunnels.  In the structure produced with conserved dynamics diffusion leads to a length scale that is related to correlations and anticorrelations between regions of curvature of opposite sign.

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