Liquid-Liquid Phase Transition and Glass Transition in a Monoatomic Model System
We investigate the phase behavior of a single-component system in three dimensions with spherically-symmetric, pairwise-additive, soft-core interactions with an attractive well at a long distance, a repulsive soft-core shoulder at an intermediate distance, and a hard-core repulsion at a short distance, similar to potentials used to describe liquid systems such as colloids, protein solutions, or liquid metals. We showed [Nature (London) 409, 692 (2001)] that, even with no evidence of the density anomaly, the phase diagram has two first-order fluid-fluid phase transitions, one ending in a gas-low-density-liquid (LDL) critical point, and the other in a gas-high-density-liquid (HDL) critical point, with a LDL-HDL phase transition at low temperatures. Here we use integral equation calculations to explore the three-parameter space of the soft-core potential and perform molecular dynamics simulations in the interesting region of parameters. For the equilibrium phase diagram, we analyze the structure of the crystal phase and find that, within the considered range of densities, the structure is independent of the density. Then, we analyze in detail the fluid metastable phases and, by explicit thermodynamic calculation in the supercooled phase, we show the absence of the density anomaly. We suggest that this absence is related to the presence of only one stable crystal structure.