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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Jul 14;97(2):028304. Epub 2006 Jul 13.

Faceting and commensurability in crystal structures of colloidal thin films.

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  • 1Centro Tecnol√≥gico de Ondas-Unidad Asociada CSIC-UPV, Universidad Polit√©cnica de Valencia, Avenida Los Naranjos, 46022 Valencia, Spain.


This Letter investigates the influence of finite size effects on the particle arrangement of thin film colloidal crystals. A rich variety of crystallographic faceting with large single domain microcrystallites is shown. Optical reflectance experiments together with scanning electron microscopy permit the identification of the crystal symmetry and the facet orientation, as well as the exact number of monolayers. When the cell thickness is not commensurable with a high symmetry layering, particles arrange themselves in a periodic distribution of (111)- and (100)-orientated face centered cubic (fcc) microcrystallites separated by planar defects. These structures can be described as a fcc ordering orientated along a vicinal surface, modified by a periodic distribution of fcc (111) stacking faults.

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