The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 223, Issue 3, pp 455–467 | Cite as

Characterization of local structures with bond-order parameters and graphs of the nearest neighbors, a comparison

  • U. Gasser
  • F. Ziese
  • G. Maret
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Heterogenous Nucleation and Microstructure Formation: Steps Towards a System and Scale Bridging Understanding


We compare two methods for the characterization of local order in samples undergoing crystal nucleation and growth. Particles with a crystal-like surrounding need to be identified to follow the nucleation process. Both methods are based on the knowledge of the particle positions in a small volume of the sample. (i) Local bond-order parameters are used to quantify the orientation of the nearest neighbors of a particle, while (ii) the graph method determines the topological arrangement of the nearest neighbors and the bonds between them. Both methods are used to detect crystal-like particles and crystal nuclei in a supercooled fluid surrounding and to determine the structure of small crystal nuclei. The properties of these nuclei are of great interest for a deeper understanding of crystal nucleation, and they can be studied in detail in colloidal model systems that allow to follow the evolution of the nuclei with single particle resolution.


European Physical Journal Special Topic Graph Method Central Particle Crystal Nucleation Crystal Nucleus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© EDP Sciences and Springer 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Neutron Scattering, Paul Scherrer InstitutVilligenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Physics Department, University of KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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