Ice surfaces have a thin layer of water below its melting temperature of 0℃. Such premelting phenomenon is important for skating and snowflake growth. Similarly, liquid often crystallizes into a thin layer of crystal on a flat substrate before reaching its freezing temperature, i.e. prefreezing. The thickness of the surface layer usually increases and diverges as approaching the phase transition (such as melting and freezing) temperature. Besides premelting and prefreezing, whether similar surface phenomenon exists as a precursor of a phase transition has rarely been explored. Read More...


surface of a colloidal crystal

The surface of a colloidal crystal develops another crystal whose thickness increases with temperature in a power law before reaching the crystal-crystal transition temperature.
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