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Modelling and Simulation in Life and Material Sciences

Crystal Growth as an Excitable Medium

Bruno Escribano

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This project is part of a collaboration with J.H.E. Cartwright, C.I. Sainz-Díaz (CSIC - Universidad de Granada) and A.G. Checa (Universidad de Granada).

Crystal growth has been widely studied for many years, and, since the pioneering
work of Burton, Cabrera, and Frank, spirals and target patterns on the crystal surface have been understood as forms of tangential crystal growth mediated by defects and by two-dimensional nucleation. Similar spirals and target patterns are ubiquitous in physical systems describable as excitable media. Here we demonstrate that this is not merely a superficial resemblance [1]; that the physics of crystal growth can be set within the framework of an excitable medium, and that appreciating this correspondence may prove useful to both fields.

[1] J.H.E. Cartwright et al., Phil. Trans. A (2012), publication in press.

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Eusko Jaurlaritza - Gobierno Vasco ikerbasque - Basque Foundation for Science Bizkaia xede. Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia innobasque - Agencia vasca de la innovación Universidad del PaÌs Vasco (UPV/EHU)