Isotropic-nematic transition for hard rods on a three-dimensional cubic lattice
AbstractUsing grand-canonical Monte Carlo (GCMC) simulations, we investigate the isotropic-nematic phase transition for hard rods of size L×1×1 on a three-dimensional cubic lattice. We observe such a transition for L≥6. For L=6, the nematic state has a negative order parameter, reflecting the co-occurrence of two dominating orientations. For L≥7, the nematic state has a positive order parameter, corresponding to the dominance of one orientation. We investigate rod lengths up to L=25 and find evidence for a very weakly first-order isotropic-nematic transition, while we cannot completely rule out a second-order transition. It was not possible to detect a density jump at the transition, despite using large systems containing several 105 particles. The probability density distributions P(Q) from the GCMC simulations near the transition are very broad, pointing to strong fluctuations. Our results complement earlier results on the demixing (pseudonematic) transition for an equivalent system in two dimensions, which is presumably of Ising type and occurs for L≥7. We compare our results to lattice fundamental measure theory (FMT) and find that FMT strongly overestimates nematic order and consequently predicts a strong first-order transition. The rod packing fraction of the nematic coexisting states, however, agree reasonably well between FMT and GCMC.