Direct Observation of Entropic Stabilization of bcc Crystals Near Melting

Joris Sprakel, Alessio Zaccone, Frans Spaepen, Peter Schall, David A. Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Crystals with low latent heat are predicted to melt from an entropically stabilized body-centered cubic symmetry. At this weakly first-order transition, strongly correlated fluctuations are expected to emerge, which could change the nature of the transition. Here we show how large fluctuations stabilize bcc crystals formed from charged colloids, giving rise to strongly power-law correlated heterogeneous dynamics. Moreover, we find that significant nonaffine particle displacements lead to a vanishing of the nonaffine shear modulus at the transition. We interpret these observations by reformulating the Born-Huang theory to account for nonaffinity, illustrating a scenario of ordered solids reaching a state where classical lattice dynamics fail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number088003
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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