A real-space study is presented on the occurrence of stacking faults in crystals of silica colloids with diameters of about 1 and 1.4 µm formed through sedimentation. The softness of the interaction potential is varied from slightly repulsive to hard- sphere like, both intrinsically by variation of the diameter, as well as through the addition of salt, which screens the surface charges. Our results indicate that the equilibrium crystal structure for these colloids is an fcc-crystal, with the number of stacking faults determined by the interplay between sedimentation and crystallization kinetics, irrespective of the softness of the interaction potential. For spheres with a certain diameter the number of stacking faults decreases with decreasing initial volume fractions. These results provide a way to grow fcc-crystals of hard-sphere particles by slow sedimentation. The relative number of stacking faults in the first few layers above the bottom wall can be as much as a factor of 10 higher

J. Chem. Phys.

Hoogenboom, J. P., Derks, D., Vergeer, P., & van Blaaderen, A. (2002). Stacking faults in colloidal crystals grown by sedimentation. J. Chem. Phys., 117, 11320–11328. doi:10.1063/1.1522397