Crystallization of Colloidal Particles

Zhao-Yan Sun, Yan-Wei Li, and Wen-Sheng Xu

State Key Laboratory of Polymer Physics and Chemistry, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, 130022, China

Crystallization is an important process in both condensed-matter physics and technology. The liquid-crystal transition of a system is normally accompanied with the change of both “order” and “density”. Although this process is well known on the qualitative level, the understanding of it in microscopic detail is still far and seems to be quite complex. In this presentation, I will give a numerical study of the relation between the order and density for colloidal particles. By investigating locally dense-packed particles and particles with relatively high bond-orientational order in the compressing process, we find sharp increases of the spatial correlations for both densely packed particles and highly bond-orientational ordered particles at the phase transition point, which provide new characterization methods of the liquid-crystal transition. Moreover, we find that the nucleation process is triggered by the bond-orientational order but not the local density. This may help understand the crystallization process of colloidal particles.

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