Removing grain boundaries from three-dimensional colloidal crystals using active dopants
Using computer simulations we explore how grain boundaries can be removed from three-dimensional colloidal crystals by doping with a small fraction of active colloids. We show that for sufficient self-propulsion, the system is driven into a crystal-fluid coexistence. In this phase separated regime, the active dopants become mobile and spontaneously gather at the grain boundaries. The resulting surface melting and recrystallization of domains result in the motion of the grain boundaries over time and lead to the formation of a large single crystal. However, when the self-propulsion is too low to cause a phase separation, we observe no significant enhancement of grain growth.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Colloids