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Surface freezing and a two-step pathway of the isotropic-smectic phase transition in colloidal rods



Surface freezing and a two-step pathway of the isotropic-smectic phase transition in colloidal rods



Physical Review Letters 91(16): 165701



We study the kinetics of the isotropic-smectic phase transition in a colloidal rod/polymer mixture by visualizing individual smectic layers. First, we show that the bulk isotropic-smectic phase transition is preceded by a surface freezing transition in which a quasi-two-dimensional smectic phase wets the isotropic-nematic interface. Next, we identify a two-step kinetic pathway for the formation of a bulk smectic phase. In the first step a metastable isotropic-nematic interface is formed. This interface is wetted by the surface-induced smectic phase. In the subsequent step, smectic layers nucleate at this surface phase and grow into the isotropic bulk phase.

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Accession: 050455376

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 14611416

DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.91.165701


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