Statics and dynamics of 2D colloidal crystals in a random pinning potential

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Jan 18;100(2):028303. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.028303. Epub 2008 Jan 18.


We report the first experimental study of a model system of a two-dimensional colloidal crystal in a random pinning potential. The colloidal crystal consists of monodispersed charged polystyrene microspheres suspended in deionized aqueous media and confined near a rough charged surface. It is found that the static orientational correlation function g6(r) decays exponentially for intermediate and strong pinning, in agreement with theories. The driven depinning is dominated by thermally activated creep motion along 1D-like channels between regions with short-range order. A coexistence model is proposed for describing the observations.