Self-poisoning of crystal nuclei in hard-rod liquids
We report on a Monte Carlo study of the pathway for crystal nucleation in a fluid of short, hard, colloidal rods. In the earliest stages of nucleation, a single-layered lamellar crystallite forms. Subsequent thickening of this lamella is hampered by the fact that the top and bottom surfaces of the crystallite are preferentially covered by rods that align parallel to the surface. As a single lamella is thermodynamically not stable, subsequent growth of individual crystals is stunted. Recently experimental evidence for such stunted crystal growth has been reported by Maeda and Maeda (2003 Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 018303) for experiments on suspensions of colloidal rods.