We use micron-size colloidal particles to visualize the processes of crystal growth. These hard spheres crystallize to increase their entropy: in the ordered lattice, the particles have more room to move, and this increases their vibrational entropy. Like in atomic systems, these crystals form by nucleation and growth. Because of the much larger length and time scale of the colloidal particles, we can observe the process of crystal growth directly at the particle scale.
Oktober 20, 2019