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Sarlah, A.; Franosch, Thomas and Frey, Erwin (August 2005): Melting of colloidal molecular crystals on triangular lattices. In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 95, No. 8: 088302-1 [PDF, 253kB]


The phase behavior of a two-dimensional colloidal system subject to a commensurate triangular potential is investigated. We consider the integer number of colloids in each potential minimum as rigid composite objects with effective discrete degrees of freedom. It is shown that there is a rich variety of phases including "herringbone" and "Japanese 6 in 1" phases. The ensuing phase diagram and phase transitions are analyzed analytically within variational mean-field theory and supplemented by Monte Carlo simulations. Consequences for experiments are discussed.

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