Journal article

Crystallization in three- and two-dimensional colloidal suspensions

  • Gasser, Urs Laboratory for Neutron Scattering, ETH Zurich - Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen - Adolphe Merkle Institut, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Published in:
  • Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. - 2009, vol. 21, no. 20, p. 203101
English Despite progress in the understanding of crystal nucleation and crystal growth since the first theories for nucleation were developed, an exact quantitative prediction of the nucleation rates in most systems has remained an unsolved problem. Colloidal suspensions show a phase behavior that is analogous to atomic or molecular systems and serve accordingly as ideal model systems for studying crystal nucleation with an accuracy and depth on a microscopic scale that is hard to reach for atomic or molecular systems. Due to the mesoscopic size of colloidal particles they can be studied in detail on the single-particle level and their dynamics is strongly slowed down in comparison with atomic or molecular systems, such that the formation of a crystal nucleus can be followed in detail. In this review, recent progress in the study of homogeneous and heterogeneous crystal nucleation in colloids and the controlled growth of crystalline colloidal structures is reviewed. All this work has resulted in unprecedented insights into the early stage of nucleation and it is also relevant for a deeper understanding of soft matter materials in general as well as for possible applications based on colloidal suspensions.
Faculté des sciences
Adolphe Merkle Institute
  • English
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