The transition strength from solid to liquid colloidal dipolar clusters in precessing magnetic fields

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We report on the rotation of colloidal clusters of diamagnetic beads and of mixtures of paramagnetic and diamagnetic beads in a ferrofluid in a precessing external magnetic field. The precession angle of the external field is a control parameter determining the stability of the cluster. Clusters become locally unstable when the local precession angle reaches the magic angle. Cluster shape dependent depolarization fields lead to a deviation of the local from the external precession angle such that close to the external magic angle different cluster shapes might coexist. For this reason cluster transitions are weakly or strongly first-order transitions. If the transition is weakly first order a critical speeding up of the cluster rotation is observed. No speeding up occurs for strongly first-order cluster transitions with hysteresis. The strength of the first-order transition is controlled by the size of the core of the cluster.


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Correspondence to Th. M. Fischer.

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Ray, A., Fischer, T.M. The transition strength from solid to liquid colloidal dipolar clusters in precessing magnetic fields. Eur. Phys. J. E 35, 17 (2012) doi:10.1140/epje/i2012-12017-x

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  • Soft Matter: Colloids and Nanoparticles