Complex Crystals from Size-Disperse Spheres

Bommineni PK, Varela-Rosales NR, Klement M, Engel M (2019)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2019


Book Volume: 122

Journal Issue: 12

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.128005


Colloids are rarely perfectly uniform but follow a distribution of sizes, shapes, and charges. This dispersity can be inherent (static) or develop and change over time (dynamic). Despite a long history of research, the conditions under which nonuniform particles crystallize and which crystal forms is still not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that hard spheres with Gaussian radius distribution and dispersity up to 19% always crystallize if compressed slowly enough, and they do so in surprisingly complex ways. This result is obtained by accelerating event-driven simulations with particle swap moves for static dispersity and particle resize moves for dynamic dispersity. Above 6% dispersity, AB(2) Laves, AB(13), and a region of Frank-Kasper phases are found. The Frank-Kasper region includes a quasicrystal approximant with Pearson symbol oS276. Our findings are relevant for ordering phenomena in soft matter and alloys.

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How to cite


Bommineni, P.K., Varela-Rosales, N.R., Klement, M., & Engel, M. (2019). Complex Crystals from Size-Disperse Spheres. Physical Review Letters, 122(12).


Bommineni, Praveen Kumar, et al. "Complex Crystals from Size-Disperse Spheres." Physical Review Letters 122.12 (2019).

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