Nano-faceted crystals answer the call for self-assembled, physico-chemically tailored materials, with those arising from a kinetically mediated response to free-energy disequilibria (thermokinetics) holding the greatest promise. The dynamics of slightly undercooled crystal–melt interfaces possessing strongly anisotropic and curvature-dependent surface energy and evolving under attachment–detachment limited kinetics offer a model system for the study of thermokinetic effects. The fundamental non-equilibrium feature of this dynamics is explicated through our discovery of one-dimensional convex and concave translating fronts (solitons) whose constant asymptotic angles provably deviate from the thermodynamically expected Wulff angles in direct proportion to the degree of undercooling. These thermokinetic solitons induce a novel emergent facet dynamics, which is exactly characterized via an original geometric matched-asymptotic analysis. We thereby discover an emergent parabolic symmetry of its coarsening facet ensembles, which naturally implies the universal scaling law for the growth in time t of the characteristic length .
- Received July 22, 2014.
- Accepted November 14, 2014.
- © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.