Crystallization Dynamics of a Single Layer Complex Plasma
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We report a series of complex (dusty) plasma experiments, aimed at the study of the detailed time evolution of the recrystallization process following a rapid quench of a two-dimensional dust liquid. The experiments were accompanied by large-scale (million-particle) molecular dynamics simulations, assuming Yukawa-type interparticle interaction. Both experiment and simulation show a t ^/alpha (power-law) dependence of the linear crystallite domain size as measured by the bond-order correlation length, translational correlation length, dislocation (defect) density, and a direct size measurement algorithm. The results show two stages of order formation. On short time scales, individual particle motion dominates; this is a fast process characterized by alpha = 0.93 +/- 0.1. At longer time scales, small crystallites undergo collective rearrangement, merging into bigger ones, resulting in a smaller exponent /alpha = 0.38 +/- 0.06.