Ground states of colloidal molecular crystals on periodic substrates

Samir El Shawish 1, Jure Dobnikar 1, Emmanuel Trizac 2

Soft Matter 4 (2008) 1491-1498

Two dimensional suspensions of spherical colloids subject to periodic external fields exhibit a rich variety of molecular crystalline phases. We study in simulations the ground state configurations of dimeric and trimeric systems, that are realized on square and triangular lattices, when either two or three macroions are trapped in each external potential minimum. Bipartite orders of the checkerboard or stripe types are reported together with more complex quadripartite orderings, and the shortcomings of envisioning the colloids gathered in a single potential minimum as a composite rigid object are discussed. This work also sheds light on simplifying assumptions underlying previous theoretical treatments and that made possible the mapping onto spin models.

  • 1. Jozef Stefan Institute,
    Jozef Stefan Institute
  • 2. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud