Crystallization and reentrant melting of charged colloids in nonpolar solvents

Toshimitsu Kanai, Niels Boon, Peter J. Lu, Eli Sloutskin, Andrew B. Schofield, Frank Smallenburg, René Van Roij, Marjolein Dijkstra, David A. Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the crystallization of charged colloidal particles in a nonpolar solvent mixture. We simultaneously charge the particles and add counterions to the solution with aerosol-OT (AOT) reverse micelles. At low AOT concentrations, the charged particles crystallize into body-centered-cubic (bcc) or face-centered-cubic (fcc) Wigner crystals; at high AOT concentrations, the increased screening drives a thus far unobserved reentrant melting transition. We observe an unexpected scaling of the data with particle size, and account for all behavior with a model that quantitatively predicts both the reentrant melting and the data collapse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number030301
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - 23 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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