Competition between phase separation and crystallization in attractive colloids

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

Competition between phase separation and crystallization in attractive colloids

  • Event time: 1:00pm
  • Event date: 10th June 2013
  • Speaker: Barbara Frisken (Simon Fraser University Canada)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

In this presentation I will show results from recent experiments on earth and on the International Space Station investigating the interplay between phase separation and crystallization in samples prepared in the three-phase region (gas-liquid-crystal) of the phase diagram of a colloid-polymer mixture. On earth, our samples first separate into a colloid-rich phase and a colloid-poor phase, with crystals forming in the colloid-rich phase. The denser phases sediment as expected. In microgravity, photographic images obtained in the BCAT-5 experiment reveal phase separation with crystal formation in the denser phase, where the phase separation continues normally until the dominant length scale is about 25% of the cell thickness, at which point both phase separation and crystal growth are arrested before macroscopic phase separation can occur. We propose that this arrest occurs because the surface tension is not sufficient to overcome the stiffness of the crystalline network that forms in the liquid phase.

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

Find out more about Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars.