Digital imaging is used to study the particle positions and trajectories of a layer of highly charged 0.3 μm diameter polystyrene spheres in water suspension, rigidly confined into two-dimensions between two smooth glass plates. As the in-plane sphere density is varied, we find a two-stage melting transition in which we observe separate divergences in the orientational and translational order at different densities, separated by roughly 4%. The topological defect statistics are complex, but qualitatively consistent with the predictions of Halperin and Nelson.
- Kosterlitz-Thouless phase transition
- Two-dimensional melting
- digital imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science