Polster, David

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Entropy and kinetics of point defects in two-dimensional dipolar crystals

2015, Lechner, Wolfgang, Polster, David, Maret, Georg, Dellago, Christoph, Keim, Peter

We study in experiment and with computer simulation the free energy and the kinetics of vacancy and interstitial defects in two-dimensional dipolar crystals. The defects appear in different local topologies, which we characterize by their point group symmetry; Cn is the n-fold cyclic group and Dn is the dihedral group, including reflections. The frequency of different local topologies is not determined by their almost degenerate energies but is dominated by entropy for symmetric configurations. The kinetics of the defects is fully reproduced by a master equation in a multistate Markov model. In this model, the system is described by the state of the defect and the time evolution is given by transitions occurring with particular rates. These transition rate constants are extracted from experiments and simulations using an optimization procedure. The good agreement between experiment, simulation, and master equation thus provides evidence for the accuracy of the model.

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Self-organized defect strings in two-dimensional crystals

2013, Lechner, Wolfgang, Polster, David, Maret, Georg, Keim, Peter, Dellago, Christoph

Using experiments with single-particle resolution and computer simulations we study the collective behavior of multiple vacancies injected into two-dimensional crystals. We find that the defects assemble into linear strings, terminated by dislocations with antiparallel Burgers vectors. We show that these defect strings propagate through the crystal in a succession of rapid one-dimensional gliding and rare rotations. While the rotation rate decreases exponentially with the number of defects in the string, the diffusion constant is constant for large strings. By monitoring the separation of the dislocations at the end points, we measure their effective interactions with high precision beyond their spontaneous formation and annihilation, and we explain the double-well form of the dislocation interaction in terms of continuum elasticity theory.