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Gravitational Tempering in Colloidal Epitaxy To Reduce Defects Further

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posted on 07.05.2014, 00:00 by Atsushi Mori, Yoshihisa Suzuki, Masahide Sato
Less-defective colloidal crystals can be used as photonic crystals. To this end, colloidal epitaxy was proposed in 1997 as a method to reduce the stacking defects in colloidal crystals. In this method, face-centered cubic (fcc) (001) stacking is forced by a template. In fcc (001) stacking, in contrast to fcc {111} stacking, the stacking sequence is unique, and thus the stacking fault can be avoided. Additionally, in 1997, an effect of gravity that reduces the stacking disorder in hard-sphere (HS) colloidal crystals was found. Recently, we have proposed a gravitational tempering method based on a result of Monte Carlo (MC) simulations using the HS model; after a colloidal crystal is grown in a relatively strong gravitational field, the defects can be reduced by decreasing the gravity strength and maintaining it for a period of time. Here, we demonstrate this method using MC simulations with a programmed gravitation. The dramatic disappearance of defect structures is observed. Gravitational tempering can complement gravitational annealing; some defect structures that accidentally remain after gravitational annealing (keeping the colloidal crystal under gravity of a considerable constant strength) can be erased.