Multiferroic property of colloidal crystals with three-dimensional solid-solid phase transitions
Department of Physics, State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics, and Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Fudan University - Shanghai 200433, China
Received: 29 April 2015
Accepted: 10 August 2015
It is a challenge to understand the dynamics of ubiquitous solid-solid phase transitions in three dimensions. In this direction, colloidal crystals are often adopted as a model system for investigation, because they contain highly ordered arrays of colloidal microparticles, analogous to atomic or molecular counterparts with appropriate scaling. Here, by resorting to the Ewald-Kornfeld formulation, we describe a type of solid-solid phase transitions from the body-centered tetragonal lattice, to the face-centered cubic lattice, and then to subsequent lattices, which have been experimentally demonstrated in electro-magnetorheological fluids (which contain suspended microparticles enabling the formation of crystalline structures) subjected to crossed electric and magnetic fields. As a result, we find that each lattice exhibits specific multiferroic properties at room temperature. The findings are further confirmed by independent finite-element simulations. Despite some limitations (e.g., the specific value of change in magnetization is small during phase transitions), this work suggests a way to real-time measure the microscopic dynamics of three-dimensional solid-solid phase transitions in colloidal crystals by detecting their multiferroic properties.
PACS: 75.85.+t – Magnetoelectric effects, multiferroics / 64.70.kj – Glasses / 47.57.J- – Colloidal systems
© EPLA, 2015