Local order in a supercooled colloidal fluid observed by confocal microscopy

Urs Gasser, D.A. Weitz, Andrew B Schofield

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The local order in a supercooled monodisperse colloidal fluid is studied by direct imaging of the particles with a laser scanning confocal microscope. The local structure is analysed with a bond order parameter method, which allows one to discern simple structures that are relevant in this system. As expected for samples that crystallize eventually, a large fraction of the particles are found to sit in surroundings with dominant face-centred cubic or hexagonally close-packed character. Evidence for local structures that contain fragments of icosahedra is found, and, moreover, the icosahedral character increases with volume fraction φ, which indicates that it might play an important role at volume fractions near the glass transition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


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