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Crystals 2016, 6(4), 46; doi:10.3390/cryst6040046

Colloidal Crystallization in 2D for Short-Ranged Attractions: A Descriptive Overview

Instituto de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos 62210, Mexico
Academic Editor: Helmut Cölfen
Received: 5 November 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016

Abstract

With the aid of 2D computer simulations, the whole colloidal crystallization process for particles interacting with a short-ranged attractive potential is described, emphazising the visualization of the different subprocesses at the particle level. Starting with a supercooled homogeneous fluid, the system undergoes a metastable fluid-fluid phase separation. Afterwards, crystallite nucleation is observed and we describe the obtainment of the critical crystallite size and other relevant quantities for nucleation. After the crystal formation, we notice the shrinking and eventual disappearance of the smaller crystals, which are close to larger ones; a manifestation of Ostwald ripening. When two growing crystal grains impinge on each other, the formation of grain boundaries is found; it is appreciated how a grain boundary moves, back and forth, not only on a perpendicular direction to the boundary, but with a rotation and a deformation. Subsequently, after the healing of the two extremes of the boundary, the two grains end up as a single imperfect grain that contains a number of complex dislocations. If these dislocations are close to the boundary with the fluid, they leave the crystal to make it more perfect. Otherwise, they migrate randomly inside the grain until they get close enough to the boundary to leave the grain. This last process of healing, trapping and getting rid of complex dislocations occurs preferentially for low-angle grain boundaries. If the angle between the symmetry axes of the two grains is not low, we end up with a polycrystal made of several touching crystal grains. View Full-Text
Keywords: colloidal crystallization; crystalline nucleation; Ostwald ripening; grain boundaries; dislocation migration; grain coarsening colloidal crystallization; crystalline nucleation; Ostwald ripening; grain boundaries; dislocation migration; grain coarsening
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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González, A.E. Colloidal Crystallization in 2D for Short-Ranged Attractions: A Descriptive Overview. Crystals 2016, 6, 46.

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