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Michael Schmiedeberg: „Colloidal particles on substrates with decagonal and tetradecagonal symmetry”
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in growing quasicrystalline films by depositing atoms on the surfaces of quasicrystals. We aim to contribute to these investigations by concentrating on the structural features of the substrate potential leaving aside chemical details. We study a model system consisting of a 2D charge-stabilized colloidal suspension in quasicrystalline potentials with decagonal or tetradecagonal symmetry that in experiments are realized by five or seven interfering laser beams.
We discover a rich phase behavior. Especially, at medium substrate strengths, when the colloidal ordering results from a competition of the colloidal interaction and the substrate potential, interesting intermediate phases occur. For example, in dilute systems, we observe a quasicrystalline phase which exhibits bond orientations in 20 different directions [1]. On the other hand, for larger densities, the system locks into a highly ordered phase that is close to an Archimedean tiling [2]. Furthermore, our study gives a new insight into the question why many five-fold symmetric quasicrystals have been identified in nature while not a single quasicrystal with seven-fold symmetry has been observed so far.


  1. M. Schmiedeberg and H. Stark, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 218302 (2008).
  2. J. Mikhael, J. Roth, L. Helden and C. Bechinger, Nature 454, 501 (2008).