Dynamic colloidal assembly pathways via low dimensional models

Yuguang Yang, Raghuram Thyagarajan, David M. Ford, Michael A. Bevan

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13 Scopus citations


Here we construct a low-dimensional Smoluchowski model for electric field mediated colloidal crystallization using Brownian dynamic simulations, which were previously matched to experiments. Diffusion mapping is used to infer dimensionality and confirm the use of two order parameters, one for degree of condensation and one for global crystallinity. Free energy and diffusivity landscapes are obtained as the coefficients of a low-dimensional Smoluchowski equation to capture the thermodynamics and kinetics of microstructure evolution. The resulting low-dimensional model quantitatively captures the dynamics of different assembly pathways between fluid, polycrystal, and single crystals states, in agreement with the full N-dimensional data as characterized by first passage time distributions. Numerical solution of the low-dimensional Smoluchowski equation reveals statistical properties of the dynamic evolution of states vs. applied field amplitude and system size. The low-dimensional Smoluchowski equation and associated landscapes calculated here can serve as models for predictive control of electric field mediated assembly of colloidal ensembles into two-dimensional crystalline objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number204904
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 28 2016


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