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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Abstract

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
Volume102
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2013

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