Shrinkage mechanisms of grain boundary loops in two-dimensional colloidal crystals

Francois A Lavergne, Arran Curran, Dirk GAL Aarts, and Roel PA Dullens

Eur. Phys. J. B 2019 92 142

We discuss the various mechanisms involved in the spontaneous shrinkage of circular grain boundaries in two-dimensional colloidal crystals. We provide experimental evidence that these grain boundary loops shrink owing to three intermittent mechanisms proposed for atomic materials, namely purely curvature-driven migration, coupled grain boundary migration, and grain boundary sliding. Throughout shrinkage, the product of the radius and misorientation of the grain boundary loop remains higher than a fundamental limit resulting from the specific dislocation structure of grain boundary loops, except for the very last stage where the loop character is lost. Despite its complexity, this process can be effectively described by a single kinetic coefficient, allowing for a simplified description of grain boundary loop kinetics.