Microphase Equilibrium and Assembly Dynamics
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Despite many attempts, ordered equilibrium microphases have yet to be obtained in experimental colloidal suspensions. The recent computation of the equilibrium phase diagram of a microscopic, particle-based microphase former [Zhuang et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 098301 (2016)] has nonetheless found such mesoscale assemblies to be thermodynamically stable. Here, we consider their equilibrium and assembly dynamics. At intermediate densities above the order-disorder transition, we identify four different dynamical regimes and the structural changes that underlie the dynamical crossovers from one disordered regime to the next. Below the order-disorder transition, we also find that periodic lamellae are the most dynamically accessible of the periodic microphases. Our analysis thus offers a comprehensive view of the disordered microphase dynamics and a route to the assembly of periodic microphases in a putative well-controlled, experimental system.