Local Melting Attracts Grain Boundaries in Colloidal Polycrystals

Caitlin Ellen Cash, Jeremy Wang, Maya Maria Martirossyan, Kemper Ludlow, Alejandro E. Baptista, Nina M. Brown, Eli Joseph Weissler, Jatin Abacousnac, and Sharon Gerbode

Physical Review Letters 120 (2018) 18002


We find that laser-induced local melting attracts and deforms grain boundaries in 2D colloidal crystals. When a melted region in contact with the edge of a crystal grain recrystallizes, it deforms the grain boundary—this attraction is driven by the multiplicity of deformed grain boundary configurations. Furthermore, the attraction provides a method to fabricate artificial colloidal crystal grains of arbitrary shape, enabling new experimental studies of grain boundary dynamics and ultimately hinting at a novel approach for fabricating materials with designer microstructures.