Order-to-Disorder Transition in Ring-Shaped Colloidal Stains

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A colloidal dispersion droplet evaporating from a surface, such as a drying coffee drop, leaves a distinct ring-shaped stain. Although this mechanism is frequently used for particle self-assembly, the conditions for crystallization have remained unclear. Our experiments with monodisperse colloidal particles reveal a structural transition in the stain, from ordered crystals to disordered packings. We show that this sharp transition originates from a temporal singularity of the flow velocity inside the evaporating droplet at the end of its life. When the deposition speed is low, particles have time to arrange by Brownian motion, while at the end, high-speed particles are jammed into a disordered phase
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)085502-1-085502-4
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • IR-78756
  • METIS-277855

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