In this work we present a computational capability featuring a hierarchy of models with different fidelities for the solution of electrokinetics problems at the micro-/nano-scale. A multifidelity approach allows the selection of the most appropriate model, in terms of accuracy and computational cost, for the particular application at hand. We demonstrate the proposed multifidelity approach by studying the mobility of a colloid in a micro-channel as a function of the colloid charge and of the size of the ions dissolved in the fluid.
We develop and demonstrate a new, hybrid simulation approach for charged fluids, which combines the accuracy of the nonlocal, classical density functional theory (cDFT) with the efficiency of the Poisson–Nernst–Planck (PNP) equations. The approach is motivated by the fact that the more accurate description of the physics in the cDFT model is required only near the charged surfaces, while away from these regions the PNP equations provide an acceptable representation of the ionic system. We formulate the hybrid approach in two stages. The first stage defines a coupled hybrid model in which the PNP and cDFT equations act independently on two overlapping domains, subject to suitable interface coupling conditions. At the second stage we apply the principles of the alternating Schwarz method to the hybrid model by using the interface conditions to define the appropriate boundary conditions and volume constraints exchanged between the PNP and the cDFT subdomains. Numerical examples with two representative examples of ionic systems demonstrate the numerical properties of the method and its potential to reduce the computational cost of a full cDFT calculation, while retaining the accuracy of the latter near the charged surfaces.
Classical density functional theory (DFT) is used to calculate the structure of the electrical double layer and the differential capacitance of model molten salts. The DFT is shown to give good qualitative agreement with Monte Carlo simulations in the molten salt regime. The DFT is then applied to three common molten salts, KCl, LiCl, and LiKCl, modeled as charged hard spheres near a planar charged surface. The DFT predicts strong layering of the ions near the surface, with the oscillatory density profiles extending to larger distances for larger electrostatic interactions resulting from either lower temperature or lower dielectric constant. In conclusion, overall the differential capacitance is found to be bell-shaped, in agreement with recent theories and simulations for ionic liquids and molten salts, but contrary to the results of the classical Gouy-Chapman theory.
Understanding the properties and behavior of biomembranes is fundamental to many biological processes and technologies. Microdomains in biomembranes or ''lipid rafts'' are now known to be an integral part of cell signaling, vesicle formation, fusion processes, protein trafficking, and viral and toxin infection processes. Understanding how microdomains form, how they depend on membrane constituents, and how they act not only has biological implications, but also will impact Sandia's effort in development of membranes that structurally adapt to their environment in a controlled manner. To provide such understanding, we created physically-based models of biomembranes. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and classical density functional theory (DFT) calculations using these models were applied to phenomena such as microdomain formation, membrane fusion, pattern formation, and protein insertion. Because lipid dynamics and self-organization in membranes occur on length and time scales beyond atomistic MD, we used coarse-grained models of double tail lipid molecules that spontaneously self-assemble into bilayers. DFT provided equilibrium information on membrane structure. Experimental work was performed to further help elucidate the fundamental membrane organization principles.