, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 781-790
Date: 21 Apr 2014

Three-dimensional structure of polystyrene colloidal crystal by synchrotron radiation X-ray phase-contrast computed tomography

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Colloidal crystal with long-range ordered structure has attracted great attention for their applications in various fields. Although perfect colloidal crystals have been achieved by some fabrications for utilization, little is known about their exact structures and internal defects. In this study, we use synchrotron radiation (SR) phase-contrast computed tomography (CT) to noninvasively access the internal structure of polystyrene (PS) colloidal crystals in three dimensions (3D). The phase-attenuation duality Paganin algorithm phase retrieval was employed to achieve a satisfactory contrast and outline of the spheres. After CT reconstruction, the positions of individual PS particles and structural defects are identified in three dimensions, and the local crystal structure is revealed. Further quantitative analysis of the void system in colloidal crystal illustrates that single voids can be mostly attributed to tetrahedron void of sphere close packing, but the interconnected voids with large volume induce a sphere volume fraction of 59.39 % that reflects a metastable glass behavior of colloidal crystal arrangement. The void orientation result reveals that the 3D close-packing difficulty mainly lies in the stacking of interlayer.