Europhys. Lett.
Volume 73, Number 3, February 2006
Page(s) 450 - 456
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 16 December 2005
Europhys. Lett., 73 (3), pp. 450-456 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10399-0

Strain-induced domain formation in two-dimensional colloidal systems

S. Bleil1, H. H. von Grünberg2, J. Dobnikar2, 3, R. Castañeda-Priego4 and C. Bechinger1

1  2. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Stuttgart - 70550 Stuttgart, Germany
2  Institut für Chemie, Karl-Franzens-Universität - 8010 Graz, Austria
3  Institute Josef Stefan - Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
4  Instituto de Fisica, Universidad de Guanajuato - 37150 Leon, Mexico

received 4 October 2005; accepted in final form 30 November 2005
published online 16 December 2005

We report on the spontaneous formation of domains in colloidal monolayers subjected to a triangular substrate, the latter created by an optical interference pattern. Upon variation of the particle number density we observe a transition from a homogeneous phase to a network of pronounced domain structures. We demonstrate that this transition is driven by the elastic strain between the colloidal system and the underlying substrate.

82.70.Dd - Colloids.
68.43.Hn - Structure of assemblies of adsorbates (two- and three-dimensional clustering).
64.70.Rh - Commensurate-incommensurate transitions.

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