Crystallization and arrest mechanisms of model colloids
We performed dynamic simulations of spheres with short-range attractive interactions for many values of interaction strength and range. Fast crystallization occurs in a localized region of this parameter space, but the character of crystallization pathways is not uniform within this region. Pathways range from one-step, in which a crystal nucleates directly from a gas, to two-step, in which substantial liquid-like clusters form and only subsequently become crystalline. Crystallization can fail because of slow nucleation from either gas or liquid, or because of dynamic arrest caused by strong interactions. Arrested states are characterized by the formation of networks of face-sharing tetrahedra that can be detected by a local common neighbor analysis.