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A Geometric-Structure Theory for Maximally Random Jammed Packings

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Maximally random jammed (MRJ) particle packings can be viewed as prototypical glasses in that they are maximally disordered while simultaneously being mechanically rigid. The prediction of the MRJ packing density

Maximally random jammed (MRJ) particle packings can be viewed as prototypical glasses in that they are maximally disordered while simultaneously being mechanically rigid. The prediction of the MRJ packing density ϕMRJ, among other packing properties of frictionless particles, still poses many theoretical challenges, even for congruent spheres or disks. Using the geometric-structure approach, we derive for the first time a highly accurate formula for MRJ densities for a very wide class of two-dimensional frictionless packings, namely, binary convex superdisks, with shapes that continuously interpolate between circles and squares. By incorporating specific attributes of MRJ states and a novel organizing principle, our formula yields predictions of ϕMRJ that are in excellent agreement with corresponding computer-simulation estimates in almost the entire α-x plane with semi-axis ratio α and small-particle relative number concentration x. Importantly, in the monodisperse circle limit, the predicted ϕMRJ = 0.834 agrees very well with the very recently numerically discovered MRJ density of 0.827, which distinguishes it from high-density “random-close packing” polycrystalline states and hence provides a stringent test on the theory. Similarly, for non-circular monodisperse superdisks, we predict MRJ states with densities that are appreciably smaller than is conventionally thought to be achievable by standard packing protocols.

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  • 2015-11-16

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A Cellular Automaton Model for Tumor Dormancy: Emergence of a Proliferative Switch

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Malignant cancers that lead to fatal outcomes for patients may remain dormant for very long periods of time. Although individual mechanisms such as cellular dormancy, angiogenic dormancy and immunosurveillance have

Malignant cancers that lead to fatal outcomes for patients may remain dormant for very long periods of time. Although individual mechanisms such as cellular dormancy, angiogenic dormancy and immunosurveillance have been proposed, a comprehensive understanding of cancer dormancy and the “switch” from a dormant to a proliferative state still needs to be strengthened from both a basic and clinical point of view. Computational modeling enables one to explore a variety of scenarios for possible but realistic microscopic dormancy mechanisms and their predicted outcomes. The aim of this paper is to devise such a predictive computational model of dormancy with an emergent “switch” behavior. Specifically, we generalize a previous cellular automaton (CA) model for proliferative growth of solid tumor that now incorporates a variety of cell-level tumor-host interactions and different mechanisms for tumor dormancy, for example the effects of the immune system. Our new CA rules induce a natural “competition” between the tumor and tumor suppression factors in the microenvironment. This competition either results in a “stalemate” for a period of time in which the tumor either eventually wins (spontaneously emerges) or is eradicated; or it leads to a situation in which the tumor is eradicated before such a “stalemate” could ever develop. We also predict that if the number of actively dividing cells within the proliferative rim of the tumor reaches a critical, yet low level, the dormant tumor has a high probability to resume rapid growth. Our findings may shed light on the fundamental understanding of cancer dormancy.

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  • 2014-10-16

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Equilibrium Phase Behavior and Maximally Random Jammed State of Truncated Tetrahedra

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Numerous recent investigations have been devoted to the determination of the equilibrium phase behavior and packing characteristics of hard nonspherical particles, including ellipsoids, superballs, and polyhedra, to name but just

Numerous recent investigations have been devoted to the determination of the equilibrium phase behavior and packing characteristics of hard nonspherical particles, including ellipsoids, superballs, and polyhedra, to name but just a few shapes. Systems of hard nonspherical particles exhibit a variety of stable phases with different degrees of translational and orientational order, including isotropic liquid, solid crystal, rotator and a variety of liquid crystal phases. In this paper, we employ a Monte Carlo implementation of the adaptive-shrinking-cell (ASC) numerical scheme and free-energy calculations to ascertain with high precision the equilibrium phase behavior of systems of congruent Archimedean truncated tetrahedra over the entire range of possible densities up to the maximal nearly space-filling density. In particular, we find that the system undergoes two first-order phase transitions as the density increases: first a liquid–solid transition and then a solid–solid transition. The isotropic liquid phase coexists with the Conway–Torquato (CT) crystal phase at intermediate densities, verifying the result of a previous qualitative study [ J. Chem. Phys. 2011, 135, 151101]. The freezing- and melting-point packing fractions for this transition are respectively ϕ[subscript F] = 0.496 ± 0.006 and ϕ[subscript M] = 0.591 ± 0.005. At higher densities, we find that the CT phase undergoes another first-order phase transition to one associated with the densest-known crystal, with coexistence densities in the range ϕ ∈ [0.780 ± 0.002, 0.802 ± 0.003]. We find no evidence for stable rotator (or plastic) or nematic phases. We also generate the maximally random jammed (MRJ) packings of truncated tetrahedra, which may be regarded to be the glassy end state of a rapid compression of the liquid. Specifically, we systematically study the structural characteristics of the MRJ packings, including the centroidal pair correlation function, structure factor and orientational pair correlation function. We find that such MRJ packings are hyperuniform with an average packing fraction of 0.770, which is considerably larger than the corresponding value for identical spheres (≈ 0.64). We conclude with some simple observations concerning what types of phase transitions might be expected in general hard-particle systems based on the particle shape and which would be good glass formers.

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Date Created
  • 2014-07-17