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Two-dimensional melting

MSC : François Boyer (M2), Eric Falcon.

The transition from a solid to a liquid phase in 2D systems occurs in numerous domains including solid-state physics, thin colloidal suspensions, liquid films, vibrated granular monolayers, and vortex lattices in superconductors. However, melting of 2D solids is a much less understood phenomenon that for 3D solids. We have designed an unusual system to investigate the 2D melting of a macroscopic analogous of a crystalline lattice: we have observed the transition from an ordered solidlike phase to a disordered liquidlike phase of a lattice of spikes on a ferrofluid surface submitted to horizontal sinusoidal vibrations. The onset of the melting transition and the structural changes across the transition (solid, hexatic and liquid phases) are found in good agreement with the theoretical predictions of 2D melting (KTHNY theory) whose universality is controversial. Our dissipative out-of-equilibrium system exhibits strong similarities with 2D melting of equilibrium systems in solid-state physics. These results could thus contribute to develop a comprehensive statistical mechanics of non-equilibrium phase transitions.

Nom des membres actuels ou anciens

FALCON Éric, BOYER François

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