Investigating the energetic and entropic components of effective potentials across a glass transition

Ryan J. Szukalo, W. G. Noid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


By eliminating unnecessary details, coarse-grained (CG) models provide the necessary efficiency for simulating scales that are inaccessible to higher resolution models. However, because they average over atomic details, the effective potentials governing CG degrees of freedom necessarily incorporate significant entropic contributions, which limit their transferability and complicate the treatment of thermodynamic properties. This work employs a dual-potential approach to consider the energetic and entropic contributions to effective interaction potentials for CG models. Specifically, we consider one- and three-site CG models for ortho-terphenyl (OTP) both above and below its glass transition. We employ the multiscale coarse-graining (MS-CG) variational principle to determine interaction potentials that accurately reproduce the structural properties of an all-atom (AA) model for OTP at each state point. We employ an energy-matching variational principle to determine an energy operator that accurately reproduces the intra- and inter-molecular energy of the AA model. While the MS-CG pair potentials are almost purely repulsive, the corresponding pair energy functions feature a pronounced minima that corresponds to contacting benzene rings. These energetic functions then determine an estimate for the entropic component of the MS-CG interaction potentials. These entropic functions accurately predict the MS-CG pair potentials across a wide range of liquid state points at constant density. Moreover, the entropic functions also predict pair potentials that quite accurately model the AA pair structure below the glass transition. Thus, the dual-potential approach appears a promising approach for modeling AA energetics, as well as for predicting the temperature-dependence of CG effective potentials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154004
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 14 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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