Department of Physics Papers

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Journal Article

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Physical Review E



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A simple method, previously used to calculate the equilibrium concentration of dimers adsorbed on a Bethe lattice as a function of the dimer activity, is generalized to solve the problem of a Bethe lattice in contact with a reservoir containing a mixture of molecules. The molecules may have arbitrary sizes and shapes consistent with the geometry of the lattice and the molecules do not interact with one another except for the hard-core restriction that two molecules cannot touch the same site. We obtain a set of simultaneous nonlinear equations, one equation for each species of molecule, which determines the equilibrium concentration of each type of molecule as a function of the (arbitrary) activities of the various species. Surprisingly, regardless of the number of species, the equilibrium concentrations are given explicitly in terms of the solution of a single equation in one unknown which can be solved numerically, if need be. Some numerical examples show that increasing the activity of one species need not necessarily decrease the equilibrium concentration of all other species. We also calculate the adsorption isotherm of an “annealed” Bethe lattice consisting of two types of sites which differently influence the activity of an adsorbed molecule. We prove that if the reservoir contains a finite number of molecular species, regions of two different polymer densities cannot simultaneously exist on the lattice. The widely used Guggenheim theory of mixtures, which can also be construed as a theory of adsorption, assumes for simplicity that the molecules in the mixture are composed of elementary units, which occupy sites of a lattice of coordination number q. Guggenheim’s analysis relies on approximate combinatorial formulas which become exact on a Bethe lattice of the same coordination number, as we show in an appendix. Our analysis involves no combinatorics and relies only on recognizing the statistical independence of certain quantities. Despite the nominal equivalence of the two approaches, the easily visualized properties of the Bethe lattice enable one to solve some apparently difficult problems by quite elementary methods.

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Date Posted: 12 August 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.