A possible four-phase coexistence in a single-component system

Kenji Akahane, John Russo*, Hajime Tanaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
259 Downloads (Pure)


For different phases to coexist in equilibrium at constant temperature T and pressure P, the condition of equal chemical potential μ must be satisfied. This condition dictates that, for a single-component system, the maximum number of phases that can coexist is three. Historically this is known as the Gibbs phase rule, and is one of the oldest and venerable rules of thermodynamics. Here we make use of the fact that, by varying model parameters, the Gibbs phase rule can be generalized so that four phases can coexist even in single-component systems. To systematically search for the quadruple point, we use a monoatomic system interacting with a Stillinger–Weber potential with variable tetrahedrality. Our study indicates that the quadruple point provides flexibility in controlling multiple equilibrium phases and may be realized in systems with tunable interactions, which are nowadays feasible in several soft matter systems such as patchy colloids.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12599
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2016


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