Nonclassical pathways of crystallization in colloidal systems

John Russo, Hajime Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
290 Downloads (Pure)


Colloidal systems offer the ideal conditions to study the nucleation process, both from an experimental viewpoint, due to their relative large size and long time-scales, and from a modeling point of view, due to the tunability of their interactions. Here we review some recent works that study the process of colloidal crystallization from a microscopic perspective. We focus in particular on non-classical pathways to nucleation where the appearance of the solid crystals involves fluctuations of two (or more) order parameters. We interpret the non-classical behavior as a decoupling of positional and orientational symmetry breaking. We then consider how the nucleation pathway determines which polymorph is selected upon nucleation from the melt. Moreover we show how
the study of nucleation pathways not only sheds new light on the microscopic mechanism of nucleation, but also provides important information regarding its avoidance, thus suggesting a deep link between crystallization and vitrification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-374
Number of pages6
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2016


  • colloid
  • crystalline
  • nucleation & growth

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