There is increasing evidence that entropy can induce microphase separation in binary fluid mixtures interacting through hard particle potentials. One such phase consists of alternating two-dimensional liquidlike layers of rods and spheres. We study the transition from a uniform miscible state to this ordered state using computer simulations, and compare results to experiments and theory. We conclude the following: (1) There is stable entropy driven microphase separation in mixtures of parallel rods and spheres. (2) Adding spheres smaller than the rod length decreases the total volume fraction needed for the formation of a layered phase, and therefore small spheres effectively stabilize the layered phase; the opposite is true for large spheres. (3) The degree of this stabilization increases with increasing rod length.

Phys. Rev. E

Dogic, Z, Frenkel, D, & Fraden, S. (2000). Enhanced stability of layered phases in parallel hard spherocylinders due to addition of hard spheres. Phys. Rev. E, 62, 3925–3933.