Onset of the crystalline phase in small assemblies of colloidal particles

Ray M. Sehgal, Joshua G. Cogan, David M. Ford, Dimitrios Maroudas

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We report the findings of a computational study designed to determine the onset of a stable crystalline phase in assemblies of small numbers (13-32) of colloidal particles that interact via a depletion-based short-ranged attractive potential. Using Monte Carlo umbrella sampling with coarse graining in two order parameters, we generate free-energy landscapes that can indicate coexistence between fluid-like and crystalline phases. The emergence of a stable crystalline phase is observed as the number of particles in the assembly increases beyond a critical value. We find that the critical cluster size for crystallization onset decreases with increasing strength of the interparticle attraction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number201905
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 20 2013


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