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Fabrication of Colloidal Laves Phases via Hard Tetramers and Hard Spheres: Bulk Phase Diagram and Sedimentation Behavior

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-08-08, 17:50 authored by Guido Avvisati, Tonnishtha Dasgupta, Marjolein Dijkstra
Colloidal photonic crystals display peculiar optical properties that make them particularly suitable for application in different fields. However, the low packing fraction of the targeted structures usually poses a real challenge in the fabrication stage. Here, we propose a route to colloidal photonic crystals via a binary mixture of hard tetramers and hard spheres. By combining theory and computer simulations, we calculate the phase diagram as well as the stacking diagram of the mixture and show that a colloidal analogue of the MgCu2 Laves phasewhich can serve as a precursor of a photonic band-gap structureis a thermodynamically stable phase in a large region of the phase diagram. Our findings show a relatively large coexistence region between the fluid and the Laves phase, which is potentially accessible by experiments. Furthermore, we determine the sedimentation behavior of the suggested mixture, by identifying several stacking sequences in the sediment. Our work uncovers a self-assembly path toward a photonic structure with a band gap in the visible region.