Diffusive and martensitic nucleation kinetics in solid-solid transitions of colloidal crystals

Yi Peng, Wei Li, Feng Wang, Tim Still, Arjun G. Yodh, Yilong Han

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27 Scopus citations


Solid-solid transitions between crystals follow diffusive nucleation, or various diffusionless transitions, but these kinetics are difficult to predict and observe. Here we observed the rich kinetics of transitions from square lattices to triangular lattices in tunable colloidal thin films with single-particle dynamics by video microscopy. Applying a small pressure gradient in defect-free regions or near dislocations markedly transform the diffusive nucleation with an intermediate-stage liquid into a martensitic generation and oscillation of dislocation pairs followed by a diffusive nucleus growth. This transformation is neither purely diffusive nor purely martensitic as conventionally assumed but a combination thereof, and thus presents new challenges to both theory and the empirical criterion of martensitic transformations. We studied how pressure, density, grain boundary, triple junction and interface coherency affect the nucleus growth, shape and kinetic pathways. These novel microscopic kinetics cast new light on control solid-solid transitions and microstructural evolutions in polycrystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14978
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - May 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants NSFC11374248, RGC-GRF16301514 (Y.H.) and the NSF-DMR11-20901 (MRSEC) and NSF-DMR12-05463 and NASA-NNX08AO0G (A.G.Y.).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


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