Normal Modes and Density of States of Disordered Colloidal Solids

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Science  06 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5992, pp. 656-658
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187988

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The normal modes and the density of states (DOS) of any material provide a basis for understanding its thermal and mechanical transport properties. In perfect crystals, normal modes are plane waves, but they can be complex in disordered systems. We have experimentally measured normal modes and the DOS in a disordered colloidal crystal. The DOS shows Debye-like behavior at low energies and an excess of modes, or Boson peak, at higher energies. The normal modes take the form of plane waves hybridized with localized short wavelength features in the Debye regime but lose both longitudinal and transverse plane-wave character at a common energy near the Boson peak.

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