Combining cell-based hydrodynamics with hybrid particle-field simulations: efficient and realistic simulation of structuring dynamics

G. J.A. Sevink, F. Schmid, T. Kawakatsu, G. Milano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We have extended an existing hybrid MD-SCF simulation technique that employs a coarsening step to enhance the computational efficiency of evaluating non-bonded particle interactions. This technique is conceptually equivalent to the single chain in mean-field (SCMF) method in polymer physics, in the sense that non-bonded interactions are derived from the non-ideal chemical potential in self-consistent field (SCF) theory, after a particle-to-field projection. In contrast to SCMF, however, MD-SCF evolves particle coordinates by the usual Newton's equation of motion. Since collisions are seriously affected by the softening of non-bonded interactions that originates from their evaluation at the coarser continuum level, we have devised a way to reinsert the effect of collisions on the structural evolution. Merging MD-SCF with multi-particle collision dynamics (MPCD), we mimic particle collisions at the level of computational cells and at the same time properly account for the momentum transfer that is important for a realistic system evolution. The resulting hybrid MD-SCF/MPCD method was validated for a particular coarse-grained model of phospholipids in aqueous solution, against reference full-particle simulations and the original MD-SCF model. We additionally implemented and tested an alternative and more isotropic finite difference gradient. Our results show that efficiency is improved by merging MD-SCF with MPCD, as properly accounting for hydrodynamic interactions considerably speeds up the phase separation dynamics, with negligible additional computational costs compared to efficient MD-SCF. This new method enables realistic simulations of large-scale systems that are needed to investigate the applications of self-assembled structures of lipids in nanotechnologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1594-1623
Number of pages30
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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