Glass-Like Slow Dynamics in a Colloidal Solid with Multiple Ground States

C Mondal and S Karmakar and S Sengupta, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 119, 10902-10910 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/jp512952u

We study the phase-ordering dynamics of a 2D model colloidal solid using molecular dynamics simulations. The colloid particles interact with each other with a Hamaker potential modified by the presence of equatorial patches of attractive and repulsive regions. The total interaction potential between two such colloids is, therefore, strongly directional and has a 3-fold symmetry. Working in the canonical ensemble, we determine the phase diagram in the density-temperature plane. We obtain three distinct crystalline ground states, viz., a low density honeycomb solid, a rectangular solid at intermediate density, and finally a high- density triangular structure. We show that when cooled rapidly from the liquid phase along iso-chores, the system undergoes a transition to a strong glass, while slow cooling gives rise to crystalline phases. We claim that geometrical frustration arising from the presence of many competing crystalline ground states causes glassy ordering and dynamics in this solid. Our results may be easily confirmed by suitable experiments on patchy colloids.

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