Coarse-graining and renormalisation group methods for the elucidation of the kinetics of complex nucleation and growth processes
Coveney, Peter V. and Wattis, Jonathan A.D. (2006) Coarse-graining and renormalisation group methods for the elucidation of the kinetics of complex nucleation and growth processes. Molecular Physics, 104 . pp. 177-185. ISSN 0026-8976
We review our work on generalisations of the Becker-Doring model of cluster-formation as applied to nucleation theory, polymer growth kinetics, and the formation of upramolecular structures in colloidal chemistry. One valuable tool in analysing mathematical models of these systems has been the coarse-graining approximation which enables macroscopic models for observable quantities to be derived from microscopic ones. This permits assumptions about the detailed molecular mechanisms to be tested, and their influence on the large-scale kinetics of surfactant self-assembly to be elucidated. We also summarise our more recent results on Becker-Doring systems, notably demonstrating that cross-inhibition and autocatalysis can destabilise a uniform solution and lead to a competitive environment in which some species flourish at the expense of others, phenomena relevant in models of the origins of life.
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