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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2004 Mar;69(3 Pt 1):031405. Epub 2004 Mar 23.

Destruction of long-range order recorded with in situ small-angle x-ray diffraction in drying colloidal crystals.

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  • 1Van 't Hoff Laboratory for Physical and Colloid Chemistry, Debye Institute, University of Utrecht, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands.


High-resolution synchrotron small-angle x-ray diffraction is applied to characterize the structure and long-range order in a sedimentary hard-sphere colloidal crystal before and during its drying. The principles of the technique and the influence of the coherence properties of the x-ray beam are discussed in detail. The capillary forces generated during the drying process are shown to destroy the long-range order and to break the crystal into smaller crystallites with slightly different orientations. The diffraction is shown to switch from the dynamic regime in the long-range-ordered crystal to nearly kinematic diffraction in the mosaic (short-range-ordered) crystal.

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