Crystallization in a two-dimensional strongly coupled plasma from a rapidly cooled fluid is found to be efficiently blocked by an external magnetic field. Beyond a threshold of the magnetic field strength , the relaxation time to the equilibrium crystal increases exponentially with , which is attributed to an impeded conversion of potential to kinetic energy. Our finding is opposed to the standard picture of two-dimensional freezing of one-component systems which does not exhibit a nucleation barrier and opens the way to keep two-dimensional fluids metastable over long times.
- Received 17 May 2013
© 2013 American Physical Society