Raheema A, Ardanza-Trevijano S, Poduska KM, Yethiraj A, González-Viñas W. Quantifying disorder in colloidal films spin-coated onto patterned substrates. Phys. Rev. E 2017;95(3):032607.
Polycrystals of thin colloidal deposits, with thickness controlled by spin-coating speed, exhibit axial symmetry
with local 4-fold and 6-fold symmetric structures, termed orientationally correlated polycrystals (OCPs). While
spin-coating is a very facile technique for producing large-area colloidal deposits, the axial symmetry prevents
us from achieving true long-range order. To obtain true long-range order, we break this axial symmetry by
introducing a patterned surface topography and thus eliminate the OCP character. We then examine symmetry-
independent methods to quantify order in these disordered colloidal deposits. We find that all the information in the bond-orientational order parameters is well captured by persistent homology analysis methods that only use the centers of the particles as input data. It is expected that these methods will prove useful in characterizing other disordered structures.