Stiffness of the interface between a colloidal body-centered cubic crystal and its liquid

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Equilibrium interfaces were established between body-centered cubic (BCC) crystals and their liquid using charged colloidal particles in an electric bottle. By measuring a time series of interfacial positions and computing the average power spectrum, their interfacial stiffness was determined according to the capillary fluctuation method. For the (100) and the (114) interfaces, the stiffnesses were 0.15 and 0.18 kBT/σ2 (σ: particle diameter), respectively, and were isotropic in the plane of the interface. For comparison, similar charged colloids were used to create an interface between a face-centered cubic (FCC) crystal and its liquid. Its stiffness was significantly larger: 0.26 kBT/σ2. This result gives experimental support to the explanations offered for the preferential nucleation of BCC over FCC in metallic alloys.

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