We report the observation of two-dimensional melting in a monolayer film of a sphere-forming diblock copolymer. By annealing in a well-controlled temperature gradient we obtain a complete record of the transition from a low-temperature hexatic phase to a high-temperature liquid in a single experiment. We investigate the temperature dependence of the orientational and translational correlation lengths, as well as of the topological defect density. All evidence suggests that the melting transition is first-order, but correlations in the liquid phase indicate the existence of an underlying second-order transition preempted by the first-order freezing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)