Effects of periodic boundary conditions on equilibrium properties of computer simulated fluids. I. Theory
An exact formal theory for the effects of periodic boundary conditions on the equilibrium properties of computer simulated classical many-body systems is developed. This is done by observing that use of the usual periodic conditions is equivalent to the study of a certain supermolecular liquid, in which a supermolecule is a polyatomic molecule of infinite extent composed of one of the physical particles in the system plus all its periodic images. For this supermolecular system in the grand ensemble, all the cluster expansion techniques used in the study of real molecular liquids are directly applicable. As expected, particle correlations are translationally uniform, but explicitly anisotropic. When the intermolecular potential energy functions are of short enough range, or cut off, so that the minimum image method is used, evaluation of the cluster integrals is dramatically simplified. In this circumstance, a large and important class of cluster expansion contributions can be summed exactly, and expressed in terms of the correlation functions which result when the system size is allowed to increase without bound. This result yields a simple and useful approximation to the corrections to the particle correlations due to the use of periodic boundary conditions with finite systems. Numerical application of these results are reported in the following paper.