Low Density Phases in a Uniformly Charged Liquid

Hans Knüpfer, Cyrill B. Muratov, Matteo Novaga

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35 Scopus citations


This paper is concerned with the macroscopic behavior of global energy minimizers in the three-dimensional sharp interface unscreened Ohta–Kawasaki model of diblock copolymer melts. This model is also referred to as the nuclear liquid drop model in the studies of the structure of highly compressed nuclear matter found in the crust of neutron stars, and, more broadly, is a paradigm for energy-driven pattern forming systems in which spatial order arises as a result of the competition of short-range attractive and long-range repulsive forces. Here we investigate the large volume behavior of minimizers in the low volume fraction regime, in which one expects the formation of a periodic lattice of small droplets of the minority phase in a sea of the majority phase. Under periodic boundary conditions, we prove that the considered energy Γ -converges to an energy functional of the limit “homogenized” measure associated with the minority phase consisting of a local linear term and a non-local quadratic term mediated by the Coulomb kernel. As a consequence, asymptotically the mass of the minority phase in a minimizer spreads uniformly across the domain. Similarly, the energy spreads uniformly across the domain as well, with the limit energy density minimizing the energy of a single droplet per unit volume. Finally, we prove that in the macroscopic limit the connected components of the minimizers have volumes and diameters that are bounded above and below by universal constants, and that most of them converge to the minimizers of the energy divided by volume for the whole space problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-183
Number of pages43
JournalCommunications in Mathematical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


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