Collective nucleation dynamics in two-dimensional emulsions with hexagonal packing

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We report a mechanism for nucleation in a monolayer of hexagonally packed monodisperse droplet arrays. Upon cooling, we observe solidified droplets to nucleate their supercooled neighbors giving rise to an autocatalyticlike mechanism for accelerated crystallization. This collective mode of nucleation depends on the strength and nature of droplet contacts. Intriguingly, the statistical distribution of the solidified droplet clusters is found to be independent of emulsion characteristics except surfactant. In contrast to classical nucleation theory, our work highlights the need to consider collective effects of nucleation in supercooled concentrated emulsions where droplet crowding is inevitable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number030602
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


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